Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the consumption of wine, beer and distilled spirits on total mortality and on mortality from cardiovascular disease.
Method: The consumption of wine, beer and distilled spirits was assessed in 1,828 individuals by a psychiatrist. Subjects were selected according to expected level of need for health services, from a random sample of 24,043 individuals aged 18-65 years. Mortality was recorded after 22 years and the results related to those for the individuals not exposed to the factor examined. The results were adjusted for age, expected level of need for health services, total alcohol consumption, gender, body-mass index, tobacco use and social class.
Results: Intake of wine once a week or more (compared with intake of wine less than once a week or not at all) was associated with a relative risk ratio of 0.58 for total mortality (95% CI: 0.40-0.84) and a relative risk ratio of 0.49 for mortality from cardiovascular disease (95% CI: 0.27-0.90). The risk reduction seemed to be confined to those consumers of wine who had an intake of less than 140 grams of alcohol per week and consumed the beverage once a week. Ex-drinkers had an increased relative risk ratio in total mortality compared with lifelong abstainers and individuals who consumed less than 50 grams of alcohol per week (relative risk ratio = 2.64; 95% CI: 1.56-4.49).
Conclusions: A low to moderate intake of wine seems, unlike the consumption of distilled spirits and beer, to be associated with reduced total mortality and reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease.