According to a study published in the scientific journal Addiction, people who consume alcohol moderately up to one glass of wine a day, have a lower risk of being hospitalized compared to heavier drinkers, but also to the teetotallers. The study was jointly conducted by of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed (Pozzilli, Italy), and Department of Nutrition of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston).
Epidemiological evidence on the impact of different alcohol drinking patterns on healthcare systems or hospitalizations is sparse. Therefore this study was conducted in which the researchers involved 21,000 participants in the Moli-sani epidemiological study, followed for over 6 years. During this period, their drinking habits were related to their number of hospital admissions.
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The researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption appears to have a modest but complex impact on global hospitalization burden.”We observed – says Simona Costanzo, first author of the paper, who spent a period of research in this field at Harvard University, thanks to a grant from the Veronesi Foundation – that a heavy consumption of alcohol is associated with a higher probability of hospitalization, especially for cancer and alcohol-related diseases. This confirms the harmful effect of excessive alcohol drinking on 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“.
“The data on hospitalizations – comments Licia Iacoviello, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology of I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed and professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Insubria in Varese – is very important in relation to the impact of alcohol on public health. Hospital admissions, in fact, represent not only a serious problem for people, but they have also a strong impact on National health systems. 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”.
“We are absolutely not saying – underlines Ken Mukamal Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School – that any teetotaler should start drinking to improve his/her health. However, this research reaffirms that the effects of alcohol consumption cannot be reduced to a single catchphrase or punchline. This very comprehensive study clearly shows that we need to consider its health effects based on both dose and disease”.
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