Low rates of drinking may protect overweight women from developing diabetes while heavy drinking increases risk for all women, according to a 2018 study from the National Alcohol Research Center, housed at PHI’s Alcohol Research Group (ARG).
Women who were overweight and abstained from lifetime drinking were three times more likely to develop diabetes compared with normal weight women who consumed seven or less alcohol drinks per week. The study also found that women with a recent history of heavy occasion drinking once a week or more had a 55% increased risk of diabetes onset.
The study used longitudinal data to follow over 8,200 participants in the United States for 33 years from 1979 to 2012 and controlled for demographics, smoking and Body Mass Index (BMI). In assessing the interaction of BMI group and risk for diabetes, the researchers used repeated measures of self-reported BMI over three decades, providing a more accurate assessment of current BMI than most previous studies.