Alcohol and Health: Should the Public Know the Truth?
The U.S. federal government has published a detailed analysis of
the research evidence on alcohol and health. It supports the consensus
of medical researchers that the moderate consumption of alcohol
is more healthful than either abstaining or abusing alcohol.
Unfortunately, many people don’t want this information known.
Nor do they want the public to know about the estimate that if everyone
in the U.S. abstained from alcohol, it would lead to an increase
of 80,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year. Studies
demonstrate that the moderate consumption of alcohol saves more
lives than are lost as a result of its abuse.
This has led the Scripps Howard News Service to pose an important
“Should this news be kept quiet? Of course not. The American
people should be treated as adults, not as ill-disciplined children
certain to misuse the truth if it comes their way. The facts are
not going to turn us into a nation of nonstop boozers. But they
may lengthen some lives.” 1
- 1. Scripps Howard News Service.
Drinking can be good for you. Naples Daily News, July 29,
- Britton, A., and McPherson, K. Mortality in England and Wales attributable
to current alcohol consumption. Journal of Epidemiology and
Community Health, 2001, 55(6), 383-388;
- Dodson, Roger. Alcohol prevents more deaths than it causes. Independent
News (UK) 5-23-04.
- Farchi, G., et al. Alcohol and survival in the Italian
rural cohorts of the Seven Countries Study. International Journal
of Epidemiology, 2000, 29, 667-671.
- Gaziano, J.M. et al., Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption
and mortality in the Physicians' Health Study enrollment cohort.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 35(1),
- McCallum, J., et al. The Dubbo Study of the Health
of the Elderly 1988-2002: An Epidemiological Study of Hospitaol
and Residential Care. Sydney, NSW, Australia: The Australian
Health Policy Institute, 2003.
- Maskarinec, G., et al. Alcohol intake, body weight, and mortality
in a multiethnic prospective cohort. Epidemiology, 1998,