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A few drinks have negative health impact

LUND, Sweden, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Swedish researchers are calling into question the assumption that low alcohol consumption is good for health.

The study, published in the journal Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, found with the exception of people age 80 and older -- men who consumed up to five units of alcohol a day and women who consumed up to 2.5 units a day cost the health service more than those who do not drink.

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The study also questions the untested theory that people with low alcohol intake are more highly paid because the protective effect of alcohol on some diseases allows them to spend more time at work, the researchers say.

"In this study, however, we found that, when including also those diseases where low consumption increases the risk of morbidity and mortality, low-to-moderate alcohol intake actually has a net negative health impact," study leader Johan Jarl of Lund University in Sweden says in a statement. "It is therefore doubtful if the common explanation of health as the link between alcohol consumption and increased wages is valid in its existing form."

The study was based on alcohol-related medical care costs and episodes collected during the Swedish Cost of Alcohol Project in 2002.

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