Effects of Alcohol Said to Vary By Race and Gender


It seems that every few months a new study comes out either condemning or praising the effects of alcohol on one’s health and lifespan. Scientists have long been tracking the drinking habits of regular people in an attempt to hone in on just how much is an appropriate amount to drink. Today, new findings from the national health interview survey run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been published, says Medical News Today, explaining that the key to “moderate alcohol benefits” may differ according to race and sex.

Data for a range of ethnicities was made available, but the study concentrated on and compared participants who identified as either white or black. Specifically, data from 126,369 white people and 25,811 black people, collected between 1997 and 2002. Results were also compared between male and female participants. It was found that the correlation of overall mortality rates from any cause with levels of alcohol consumption varied by the groupings of race and gender.

The lowest risk of mortality for white men was associated with having one to two drinks three to seven days per week, for black men the lowest risk of mortality was found in those who never drank. For women, the lowest risk of mortality was found in white women who kept to one drink three to seven days per week. For black women, however, the lowest death rates occurred for those women who had only one drink two or fewer days per week.

These results beg the question: Why does alcohol effect differ by race at all? The authors point to a combination of lifestyle and biological factors. [Medical News Today][Photo: Flickr/Travis Wise]