A little of what you fancy does you good

A Little Of What You Fancy Does You Good was a song first sung by Marie Lloyd in May 1915 but recent research confirms the truth of that title.

The New York Times tells us that Middle-aged women who have an alcoholic drink every day may increase their chances of enjoying health in their old age.

Researchers at Harvard followed 13,894 women with a median age of 58 for an average of 16 years, tracking their alcohol consumption and assessing how well they aged. The scientists defined successful aging as being free of 11 major chronic illnesses and having no major cognitive or physical impairments after age 70.

After controlling for numerous health, educational and family history factors, the researchers found that women who drank one-half to one ounce of alcohol a day were 28 percent more likely than nondrinkers to achieve successful aging. Those who drank throughout the week rather than on a single occasion were also more likely to be healthy in old age.

However the lead author, Dr. Qi Sun, an instructor in medicine at Harvard, issues a caveat. He does not view alcohol as a health food. Nondrinkers should not start drinking with the thought of improving their health. Physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight are much better approaches to successful aging than alcohol consumption.

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