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Women's Health Watch

A Toast to the Ladies: Moderate Alcohol May Benefit Health

Published Online: Wednesday, February 1, 2006   [ Request Print ]

According to 2 separate studies, moderate alcohol intake may benefit older women in the form of protection from kidney cancer and type 2 diabetes.

The first study involved data on 59,237 women, aged 40 to 76 years, who were cancer-free from 1987 to 1990. They completed food-frequency questionnaires that included information on alcohol intake. By 2004, a total of 132 cases of kidney cancer were reported in this group.Women aged 40 to 55 years who reported drinking at least 1 serving of alcohol a week had a 38% lower risk of developing the cancer than those who drank less. Older women reported an even lower risk—66% for women over 55.

A second study examined data from a cohort of over 16,300 women, aged 49 to 70 years, who were free of diabetes at baseline and were studied for an average of 6.2 years. During this time, 760 women developed type 2 diabetes. The data showed that women who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol (between 5 and 30 g a week) were much less likely to develop diabetes than those who abstained from drinking.


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