Alcohol use and frailty risk among older adults over 12 years: The Health and Retirement Study.

TitleAlcohol use and frailty risk among older adults over 12 years: The Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsShah, M, Paulson, D, Nguyen, V
JournalClinical Gerontologist
ISSN Number1545-2301
KeywordsAlcohol Consumption, Frailty, Risk Factors

OBJECTIVES: The primary goal was to examine the relationship between alcohol use and frailty, a variable characterizing late-life decline, in a national, longitudinal survey of older adults living in the United States.

METHODS: The sample drawn from the Health and Retirement Study included 9,499 stroke-free participants over age 65 in 2000. The sample was 59.1% female, and had a mean age of 74.25 years (SD = 6.99). Follow-up data was from 2004, 2008, and 2012. Frailty was defined phenotypically using the Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index (PLFI). Alcohol use was measured via self-report. Control variables included age, race, education, socio-economic status (SES), depressive symptomatology, medical burden score, body mass index (BMI), and partner status. With abstinent participants as the reference group, logistic regressions were conducted to determine prevalent frailty at 2000, and Cox's proportional hazard models were utilized to determine time to incident frailty over a 12-year period.

RESULTS: Results revealed that age, depressive symptomatology, and medical burden score were significant positive correlates of prevalent and incident frailty (p < .05) for both males and females. Logistic regressions revealed that consumption of 1-7 alcoholic drinks per week was associated with reduced prevalent frailty (OR = .49, p < .001) for females. Survival analysis results reveal that compared with nondrinkers, males and females who reportedly consumed 1-7 drinks per week had a decreased probability of incident frailty (HR = .78-081, p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that moderate alcohol use confers reduced frailty risk for both older men and women. Future research should examine the mechanism(s) relating alcohol consumption and frailty.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Findings support extant literature suggesting some healthcare benefits may be associated with moderate drinking.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalClin Gerontol
Citation Key9350
PubMed ID28990855