Moderate Drinking among Older Women: Health Effects

This study examined the health effects of moderate drinking among older women. It also looked at the effects of smoking on health.

I. The Study: Drinking among Older Women

Researchers wanted to learn if the health effects of moderate drinking persisted into old age among women. They also looked at smoking tobacco.  To do so, they examined drinking, smoking, and measures of health. Also, they looked at the death rate.  The participants were 9,704 women age 65 or older. The researchers then followed them up after 10 and 20 years.


How did moderate drinkers compare with never-drinkers? After both 10 and 20 years, moderate drinkers had these.

    • drinking among older womenLower death rates.
    • Better health.
    • Lower rates of living in a nursing home.
    • Less difficulty with activities of daily living.
    • Faster walking speed.
    • Greater grip strength.

How did smokers compare with non-smokers? That’s no surprise. Smokers had much poorer health and were much more likely to die.

In short, the researchers found that moderate drinking is good for health and long life among older women. Of course, tobacco smoking is bad for health and long life.1

The harmful results of smoking is well-known. Less well-known among the public is that moderate drinking benefits both health and long life.

Health Tips

There are three major ways to improve health and reduce risk of diseases. They also increase the chances of having a long life. They’re simple, but some may be hard to achieve.

    • Don’t smoke.
    • Maintain proper weight.
    • Drink alcohol in moderation. It can be beer, wine, and/or spirits (liquor).

Remember that beer, wine, and spirits have the same general health benefits.

II. Resources

Popular Readings
    1. Nelson H. et al. Associations of Smoking, Moderate Alcohol Use, and Function. Geron Geri Med, 4, 1–9.
    • This site gives no advice. Please see your doctor with questions.