The self-reported study of 12,432 Australian women was led by Julie Byles at the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia and compared the health of nondrinkers ages 70-75 to women of the same age who had one or two drinks daily, three to six times per week.
“The recommended limits of one to two drinks per day seem appropriate for women aged 70-80 years,” concluded Byles, who found that the nondrinkers were much more likely to die than the drinkers. Moreover, the surviving nondrinkers tended to have poorer health-related quality of life, lower mental-health scores, and lower social-functioning scores.
The study found no evidence that nondrinkers should start drinking later in life, however; Byles said the positive findings only apply to women who were drinking at the start of the study.
Source: Byles J et al. 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;54:1341-7