A recent study published in BMJ Open revealed that people at least 50 years old who are at the pink of health and height of success are more prone to drinking unhealthily.
“Our findings suggest that harmful drinking in later life is more prevalent among people who exhibit a lifestyle associated with affluence and with a ‘successful’ aging process,” said study author Prof. José Iparraguirre of Age UK’s research department.
The study was based on data of close to 10,000 individuals 50 years old and above, who took part in the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing (ELSA) for 2008-2009 and 2010-2011. Survey respondents were asked about their alcohol consumption per week, status in life, diet and physical activity, self-assessment of health, and level of social stature.
Results showed that harmful drinking — defined as downing 50 units of alcohol for men and 35 units for women on a weekly basis — was more likely in women who were rich. It was also found in both men and women who experience “good health, smoking and higher educational attainment,” as reported in a news release.
The study author believes that poor drinking habits are signs of deep-rooted issues in successful individuals. “Harmful drinking may then be a hidden health and social problem in otherwise successful older people. Consequently, and based on our results, we recommend the explicit incorporation of alcohol drinking levels and patterns into the successful aging paradigm,” Iparraguirre added.