Background: Consumption of moderate-to-heavy amounts of alcohol has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Although both diseases are main causes of the frailty syndrome, no previous study has assessed the association between alcohol-drinking patterns and risk of frailty in older adults.
Methods: A prospective cohort study of 2,086 community-dwelling individuals aged 60 and older, recruited in 2008-2010, and followed through 2012, was carried out. Drinking patterns were self-reported at baseline. Moderate drinking was defined as alcohol intake less than 40 g/day for men and less than 24 g/day for women. A Mediterranean drinking pattern was defined as moderate alcohol intake, with wine preference (≥80% of alcohol proceeds from wine) and drinking only with meals. Study participants were followed through 2012 to ascertain incident frailty, defined as ≥2 of the following 4 Fried criteria: exhaustion, muscle weakness, low physical activity, and slow walking speed. Analyses were performed with logistic regression and adjusted for the main confounders.
Results: After a mean follow-up of 3.3 (SD = 0.6) years, 292 participants with incident frailty were identified. Compared with nondrinkers, the odds ratio and its 95% confidence interval of frailty was 0.90 (0.65-1.25) for moderate drinkers. The corresponding results were 0.74 (0.48-1.16) for wine versus other beverage preference and 0.53 (0.31-0.92) for drinking only with meals versus only outside meals. Finally, compared with nondrinkers, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of frailty was 0.68 (0.47-0.99) for those adhering to the Mediterranean drinking pattern.
Conclusions: Certain drinking patterns, in particular drinking only with meals and the Mediterranean drinking pattern, are associated with a lower risk of frailty in older adults.
Keywords: Alcohol; Cohort study; Elderly; Frailty.
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