Organising Committee9th European Beer and Health Symposium
Our research group at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, IRCCS Neuromed (Italy) has been working in the last 20 years on the effects of alcohol consumption on health. We performed several meta-analyses of observational studies to investigate the effect of alcohol intake at different doses on total mortality and on fatal and not-fatal cardiovascular events, both in apparently healthy people and in CVD patients. Main results from these meta-analyses showed that low intake of wine and beer is associated with a reduced cardiovascular and total mortality risk, whereas larger amounts with an increased risk. We strongly believe that experts should accurately communicate the health benefits and risks of alcohol consumption to the media and to the public. Nowadays, the debated question on the existence of a J shaped curve – an issue frequently discussed even in scientific forums – is a problem of beliefs rather than of scientific data. At this time, while physicians and public policy makers wait for a long-term clinical trial to finally provide solid answers to the controversies surrounding moderate alcohol intake, considering the currently available epidemiological evidence, we reiterate four key messages: (1) the choice to consume alcohol should be made on an individual basis, taking into account both its influence on health and individual’s specific risk profile; (2) the hazards of even occasional binge drinking should be highlighted and reinforced; (3) moderate drinking should only occur in the context of an otherwise healthy lifestyle; (4) lifelong abstainers should not adopt drinking only to improve their health.