Moderate Drinkers Less Obese than Alcohol Non-Drinkers

Much research shows that regular moderate drinkers are less likely to be obese than are abstainers. Hence, the title, Moderate Drinkers Less Obese. This is true over decades of life and when alternative explanations are considered. That includes the possibility that some abstainers may be “sick quitters.” It also considers the possibility that drinkers may have more healthful lifestyles.

The Study

In this study researchers looked at the amount and frequency of drinking and obesity. And their study was unique in looking at different levels of obesity.

Researchers used data from U.S. National Health and Nutrition surveys over a five-year period. They found that about 36% of males and 41% of females were obese. The researchers defined obesity as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2.

That was Class 1 obesity. Class II was BMI 35 ≥ 40 kg/m2 and Class III was BMI > 40 kg/m2. This enabled the researchers to see the effects of alcohol on varying levels of obesity.


moderate drinkers less obeseWomen drinkers, in comparison to non-drinkers, had over 30% lower risk of obesity. And that was at any level of obesity. Men drinkers, in comparison to non-drinkers, had 38% lower risk of Class 3 obesity versus subjects with a healthy weight.

Among both sexes, more frequent drinking was linked with less obesity. But heavy drinking was linked with increased risk of obesity.

Resources: Moderate Drinkers Less Obese

Web Pages


White, G., et al. Alcohol Use Among U.S. Adults by Weight Status and Weight Loss Attempt. Am J Prev Med, 2019, 57, 220−230.


Bodzak, C. Eat with Intention. NY: Race Point, 2016.

Cheskin, L., et al. Nutrition and Weight Control. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Med., 2011.

Jessen, C. Supersize vs Superskinny. Take Control of Your Weight. London: Channel 4, 2008.

Katzen, M. and Willett, W. Eat, Drink & Weigh Less. N.Y: Hyperion, 2006.


French, M., et al. Alcohol consumption and body weight. Health Econ, 2010, 19(8),14–832.

MacInnis, R., et al. Predictors of increased body weight and waist circumference. Publ Health Nutr, 2013, 17, 1087-1097.

Moza, D., et al. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain. N Engl J Med, 2011, 364, 2392– 2404.

O’Donovan, G., et al. Stamatakis, E. Associations between alcohol and obesity. Br J Nutr, 2018, 119, 222-227.

Traversy, G., and Chaput, J. Alcohol consumption and obesity. Curr Obes Rep, 2015, 4, 122-130.

Wang, L., et al. Alcohol consumption, weight gain, and risk of becoming overweight. Arch Intern Med, 2010, 170, 453-461.

Wanna, S., et al. Alcohol intake and 8-year weight gain in women. Obes Res, 2004, 12, 1386-1396.


This website is for information only. So it gives no advice about moderate drinkers less obese than alcohol non-drinkers.