The Event
Healthy Wine Behavior
© by Sheral Schowe
Wine and moderate, healthy lifestyles go hand in hand. The research of the ‘90s concludes that wine consumers have healthier characteristics than the majority of the population. The research from a 1992 study of more than 82,000 people points to a general profile of the healthy wine drinker.

Dr. Arthur Klatsky of Kaiser Permanente Hospital found that wine drinkers have lower rates of coronary heart disease, smoke less, exercise more and enjoy a more nutritious diet than those who did not drink wine. They are generally older, more educated, and wealthier than the population at large, with fewer incidents of heavy drinking.

Studies have also found that of those who enjoy wine, 75 percent do so at home, predominantly with meals, drinking no more that 1.5 glasses of wine for most occasions, and 4.5 glasses on average per week. It makes sense, if wine drinkers enjoy their beverage at home, that only two percent of those arrested for driving under the influence are wine drinkers. Even young people who drink wine have the lowest rates of heavy drinking, drinking-related problems, and delinquency.

Our sophisticated, high-tech, fast-paced society tends to turn up its nose at old country traditions. However, it is the tradition of wine-drinking societies to celebrate friendship and the family unit over a meal, accompanied by wine. Their emphasis on moderation, tradition, family, friends, and food serves as a positive role model for responsible and healthy drinking behavior. Countries such as France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, whose wine consumption is higher than that of the United States, have far lower rates of alcohol-related problems. Drunk driving and underage drinking is fairly uncommon in countries that consider wine as a routine part of any meal. In fact, if you indicate that you would like a glass of wine in one of these countries, particularly in a home, it would be assumed that you are hungry, and preparations would be made to also serve you a meal.

Recent studies attribute wine consumption to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia, kidney stones, and salmonella based food poisoning. The research alone is compelling enough, in addition to the examples of wine-consuming cultures, that drinking wine can be a healthy behavior. According to Louis Pasteur, "Wine can be considered with good reason as the most healthful and the most hygienic of all beverages."

Aug. 5, 1999

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