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Drinking in moderation decreases the risk of hospitalization

People who drink a glass of wine a day may have a lower risk of disease and hospitalizations compared to heavy drinkers and people who don’t drink at all, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Mediterranean Neurological Institute in Italy and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston conducted the study.

The results, published in the journal Addiction, help strengthen findings that drinking in moderation is associated with certain health benefits.

What’s interesting about this study in particular is that the researchers found that drinking habits were directly related to hospitalizations and drinking in moderation resulted in fewer hospitalizations overall.

For the study, the researchers followed 21,000 participants who were part of the Moli-sani epidemiological study for six years and recorded drinking habits, admissions into a hospital, and any contracted health problems or diseases.

“We observed that a heavy consumption of alcohol is associated with a higher probability of hospitalization, especially for cancer and alcohol-related diseases,” said Simona Costanzo, first author of the paper. “This confirms the harmful effect of excessive alcohol drinking on the health. On the other hand, those who drink in moderation present a lower risk of hospitalization for all causes and for cardiovascular diseases compared to lifetime abstainers and former drinkers.”

According to the researchers, hospitalizations can place a considerable burden on both people and public health systems, and so understanding the impacts of alcohol consumption on hospital admissions is extremely important.

“Our study confirms how much excess alcohol can weigh on healthcare facilities, underlining the urgent need of managing the problem, but it also confirms and extends our previous observations according to which moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduction in mortality risk, regardless of the type of disease,” said Licia Iacoviello, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at the Mediterranean Neurological Institute.

The team says they are not advocating for non-drinkers to take up drinking a glass of wine a day, only that the study highlights the complexities of examining health and alcohol consumption.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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