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Studies claiming health benefits of alcohol may have overestimated effect, say UK researchers

The health benefits of alcohol may have been overestimated in trials because non-drinkers are more likely to have a long-standing illness, say UK researchers.

Two birth cohorts – one from 1958 and the other from 1970 – were used to identify people who had a long-standing illness in adulthood.

The researchers from University College London found that having persistent ill health made you 4.5 times more likely to be a lifetime abstainer from alcohol at 33 years and over 7 times more likely at 42 years.

They conclude that studies comparing the health outcomes of moderate drinkers to lifetime abstainers that do not account for pre-existing poor health may overestimate the better health outcomes from moderate alcohol consumption.

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