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Drink a Little, Stay Active, Save Your Heart
Date:1/9/2008

of dying was similar to non-drinkers, the researchers found.

Among people who were physical active, those who didn't drink had a 30 percent to 31 percent higher risk of fatal heart disease compared with moderate drinkers.

However, among people who didn't drink but had a moderate or high level of physical activity, their risk of fatal heart disease was reduced up to 33 percent compared to those who didn't exercise or drink.

In fact, those who had at least one drink a week and were physically active had a 44 percent to 50 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who were physically inactive and didn't drink.

Moreover, people who were physically active and had a drink a week had up to a 33 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, Gronbaek's group found.

"Physical activity and a moderate alcohol intake can lower the risk of fatal heart disease and all-cause mortality. But neither physical activity alone nor alcohol intake can completely reverse the increased risk associated with physical inactivity and alcohol abstention. Thus, both physical activity and alcohol intake are important to lower the risk of fatal heart disease and all-cause mortality," the researchers concluded.

One expert sees physical activity and moderate drinking as parts of a healthy lifestyle.

"The key messages of this study, based on a large cohort, are reaffirmations of what we already know, not revelations," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. "Moderate alcohol intake reduces the risk of heart disease. Moderate physical activity does so, too, and even more powerfully. Combine the two, and the benefits are additive."

However, Katz stressed that practices that promote health are most powerful when combined into an overall pattern of healthful living.

"Combing regular physical activity with not just moderate alcohol intake,
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