Public Release: 

Light to moderate alcohol consumption not beneficial to health


A number of studies published in the 1970s and 1980s suggested that small to moderate amounts of alcohol have a protective effect on ischaemic heart disease (IHD) that outweighs adverse health effects. However, Rod Jackson (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and colleagues state that the studies were non-randomised and any positive association could easily be due to confounding factors that were not considered. For example, a study this year on 200,000 adults in the USA found that 27 of 30 cardiovascular risk factors were significantly more prevalent in non-drinkers than in light to moderate drinkers.

Dr Jackson states: "Any coronary protection from light to moderate drinking will be very small and unlikely to outweigh the harms...Do not assume there is a window in which the health benefits of alcohol are greater than the harms - there is probably no free lunch."


Professor Rod Jackson
Department of Community Health
Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
University of Auckland, PO Box 92019, Auckland, New Zealand

Professor Jackson is available on the phone from Saturday midday New Zealand time. He is travelling from Europe Thursday - Saturday and will be checking his e-mail regularly. T) 64-2-130-1147,

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