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Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of functional limitations in two cohorts of older adults

Several studies have found that moderate alcohol intake is associated with lower risk of functional limitations in older adults. However, no previous investigation has assessed this association in older adults from Mediterranean countries, who show characteristic drinking patterns.

Researchers took data from the UAM and the Seniors- ENRICA cohorts in Spain, comprising communitydwelling people aged >/= 60 years. At baseline, participants in both cohorts were classified as nondrinkers, ex-drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers (the threshold between moderate and heavy intake was >/= 40 g/day in men and >/= 24 g/ day in women). The Seniors-ENRICA cohort allowed assessment of a Mediterranean Drinking Pattern (MDP), defined as moderate alcohol intake, with wine preference (>/= 80% of alcohol consumed as wine) and drinking only with meals. The incidence of limitation in mobility, agility, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) was ascertained in each cohort at the end of a 3.5-year follow-up. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, lifestyle, BMI, chronic conditions, and functional limitations at baseline others than the studied limitation.

Compared with non-drinkers, ex-drinkers showed a higher risk of IADL limitation (OR: 1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-2.21). By contrast, moderate drinkers had a lower risk of limitations in mobility (OR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.63-0.97), agility (OR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.65-0.99) and IADL (OR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.39-0.69). Among individuals reporting poor or fair health, the Mediterranean Drinking Pattern was associated with lower risk of mobility limitation (OR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.27-0.97).

In older adults, moderate alcohol consumption, as well as the Mediterranean Drinking Pattern in specific subgroups, is associated with lower risk of functional limitation.

Source: Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of functional limitations in two cohorts of older adults Leon Munoz LM; Guallar Castillon P; Garcia Esquinas E; Galan I; Rodriguez Artalejo F. Clinical Nutrition. Vol 36, No 3, 2017, pp831-838.

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