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September 12, 2001

Choice of Comparison Group in Assessing the Health Effects of Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(10):1177-1178. doi:10.1001/jama.286.10.1173

To the Editor: Prospective studies have shown that moderate alcohol drinkers have lower all-cause mortality than nondrinkers.1 Subjects in the nondrinkers category generally comprise both never drinkers and ex-drinkers. Although ex-drinkers might have quit drinking due to ill health and have higher mortality than never drinkers, many studies fail to consider them separately.1 We examined the effect of combining and separating the 2 groups on the relationship between moderate drinking and total mortality.