March 14, 2010
I am writing in response to your March 8, 2010 article entitled, Study: Women Who Drink Are Less Likely to Gain Weight. You go on to explain that a study was done on over 19,000 women over a thirteen year period. This means you studied approximately 1,400 women each year, which may not be a significant sample size. Unfortunately for the average, naive, woman reader, you describe how alcohol will not likely cause her to gain weight. You say all of this at the beginning of the article, and save the important things for the end of the article, after the woman has already been told not to worry about the extra calories from alcohol.
While you state that alcohol may slightly increase a woman's chance of breast cancer, you do not go into detail about the other effects it may have on her body. Even through the title of your article, you seem to be advocating alcohol to the female population. If you want to do this, I suggest you also examine some negative effects that alcohol may cause. A study done by Wuethrich (2001), found that alcohol has greater long and short term effects on a woman's brain. It has been shown that females lose 15-20% more neurons in the brain due to alcohol than males do. (Wuethrich, 2001). It has also been shown that women may lose more grey and white matter in the brain. This causes the brain to shrink (Harper, et al, 1990). Therefore, while you state that women may not gain weight from continuously drinking alcohol in moderation, you seem to have overlooked a very important object that allows a human to live--her brain.
Additionally, the language you use in your article seems to target younger women. This is a problem because younger women typically have faster metabolisms, which may explain the lack of weight gain. Also, a study done by Fuchs, et al (1995) states that benefits of light to moderate drinking will usually only benefit women once they are age 50 or older. This may be a result of reducing the effects of cardiovascular disease that women typically see at this age. Therefore, I think you need to re-examine the language you use in your article in order to successfully target all age groups.
Overall, I think your study may show somewhat significant results regarding weight gain and caloric intake in females, but you have overlooked some necessary background information regarding alcohol. Next time you should reconsider your article title, as well as the information you give to or withhold from your reader.
Fuchs, C.S., Stampfer, M.J., & Colditz, G.A. (1995). Alcohol consumption and mortality in women. The New England Journal of Medicine, 332(19), 1245-1250.
Harding, A. (2010). Study: Women Who Drink Are Less Likely To Gain Weight. Yahoo!news March 2010. http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/03/08/women.drink.weight/index.html
Harper, C.G., Smith, N.A., Kril, J.J. (1990). The effects of alcohol on the female brain: a neuropathological study. Oxford Journal of Medicine, 25(5), 445-448.
Wuethrich, B. (2001). Does alcohol damage female brains more? Science Science United States, 291(5511), 2077-2079.