Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Older Women

  1. Joline W.J. Beulens, MSC12,
  2. Ronald P. Stolk, MD3,
  3. Yvonne T. van der Schouw, PHD3,
  4. Diederick E. Grobbee, MD3,
  5. Henk F.J. Hendriks, PHD1 and
  6. Michiel L. Bots, MD3
  1. 1Department of Physiological Sciences, Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research Quality of Life, Zeist, the Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands
  3. 3Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Michiel L. Bots, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, Netherlands. Email: m.l.bots{at}


OBJECTIVE—This study aimed to investigate the relation between alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes among older women.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Between 1993 and 1997, 16,330 women aged 49–70 years and free from diabetes were enrolled in one of the Dutch Prospect-EPIC (European Prospective Study Into Cancer and Nutrition) cohorts and followed for 6.2 years (range 0.1–10.1). At enrollment, women filled in questionnaires and blood samples were collected.

RESULTS—During follow-up, 760 cases of type 2 diabetes were documented. A linear inverse association (P = 0.007) between alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes risk was observed, adjusting for potential confounders. Compared with abstainers, the hazard ratio for type 2 diabetes was 0.86 (95% CI 0.66–1.12) for women consuming 5–30 g alcohol per week, 0.66 (0.48–0.91) for 30–70 g per week, 0.91 (0.67–1.24) for 70–140 g per week, 0.64 (0.44–0.93) for 140–210 g per week, and 0.69 (0.47–1.02) for >210 g alcohol per week. Beverage type did not influence this association. Lifetime alcohol consumption was associated with type 2 diabetes in a U-shaped fashion.

CONCLUSIONS—Our findings support the evidence of a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes with moderate alcohol consumption and expand this to a population of older women.


  • A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.

    • Accepted September 7, 2005.
    • Received June 21, 2005.
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