Alcohol Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Younger, Middle-Aged, and Older Adults

Ulla A. Hvidtfeldt, Janne S. Tolstrup, Marianne Uhre Jakobsen, Berit L. Heitmann, Morten Gronbaek, Eilis O'Reilly, Katarina Balter, Uri Goldbourt, Goran Hallmans, Paul Knekt, Simin Liu, Mark Pereira, Pirjo Pietinen, Donna Spiegelman, June Stevens, Jarmo Virtamo, Walter C. Willett, Eric B. Rimm, Alberto Ascherio

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. This protective effect of alcohol, however, may be confined to middle-aged or older individuals. Coronary heart disease incidence is low in men = 60 years of age were 0.58 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.36 to 0.93), 0.72 (95% CI, 0.60 to 0.86), and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.75 to 0.97) compared with abstainers. However, the analyses indicated a smaller incidence rate difference between abstainers and moderate consumers in younger adults (incidence rate difference, 45 per 100 000; 90% CI, 8 to 84) than in middle-aged (incidence rate difference, 64 per 100 000; 90% CI, 24 to 102) and older (incidence rate difference, 89 per 100 000; 90% CI, 44 to 140) adults. Similar results were observed in women. Conclusion: Alcohol is also associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease in younger adults; however, the absolute risk was small compared with middle-aged and older adults.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)1589-1597
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Age groups
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Coronary disease
  • Epidemiology

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