Older Women and Alcohol Consumption

Older women who consume one or two drinks of alcohol (beer, wine or distilled spirits) are more likely to remain in good health and live longer than women who do not drink, according to a long-term study of Australian women.

Studied were 12,432 women who were age 70 to 75 in 1996 and participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Between 1996 and 2002, women who rarely or never drank were much more likely to die than those who drank one or two drinks per day, three to six days each week.

The alcohol abstainers also had lower mental health and social functioning scores on standard tests than did drinkers.

Dr. Julie Byles, Director of the Research Center for Gender, Health and Aging at the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia, said that her research suggests that “the recommended limits of one to two drinks per day seem appropriate for women aged 70-80 years.”


  • Byles, J., Yong, A., Furuyya, H., & Parkinson, L. A drink to healthy aging: the association between older women’s use of alcohol and their health-related quality of life. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2006, 54(9), 1348-1354.

Filed Under: Longevity | Women's Health | Aging