"I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity," Kawas stated over the weekend at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas.
Other factors were found to boost longevity, including weight. Participants who were slightly overweight — but not obese — cut their odds of an early death by 3 percent.
"It's not bad to be skinny when you're young but it's very bad to be skinny when you're old," Kawas noted in her address.
Subjects who kept busy with a daily hobby two hours a day were 21 percent less likely to die early, while those who drank two cups of coffee a day cut that risk by 10 percent.
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