A recent study that was published in the online journal BMJ Open reports that people over 50s who are “healthy, active, sociable, and well off” are at a higher risk of experiencing more serious and harmful effects of drinking compared to their less successful peers.
A total of 9,000 respondents were studied for the research. Based on the study, men in their early 60s are prone to the harmful effects of drinking. The effect reduces as men age. In women however, the risks associated with drinking is proportionate with age. The study also noted that the over 50s group may experience later in their life the harmful effects of high consumption levels which they developed in their younger years.
The study also presented interesting data which linked higher risks in men who were separated, divorced or living on their own, as well as those of white ethnicity. Furthermore, high risk for the harmful effects of alcohol consumption was related to income among women but not on men. Women were generally found to be at lower risk compared to men because they are more likely to have “caring responsibilities.” Although employment status, like religious belief, was found to have no effect on increasing risks for the ill effects of alcohol, women who have retired were observed to be at more risk. Other contributory factors that affect both sexes are smoking, higher educational attainment, and good health.
The researchers pointed out that people aged 50 or over in England as a middle class phenomenon as well as those who have good health, higher educational attainment, higher income, as well as an active social life were likely to drink at harmful levels. Researchers explain that “harmful drinking in later life was more prevalent among people who exhibit a lifestyle associated with affluence and with a ‘successful’ ageing process.”