Study: Ads influence kids' drinking

May 3, 2007

U.S. researchers have determined children's exposure to alcohol advertising during early adolescence influences their later drinking habits.

The Rand Corp. study of sixth and seventh graders found those exposed to high levels of alcohol advertising -- including television, magazines, in-store displays and promotional items such as T-shirts and posters -- were 50 percent more likely to drink and 36 percent more likely to intend to drink than children exposed to very little alcohol advertising.

Previous studies found adolescents see at least 245 television ads for alcoholic beverages annually. The Rand study is unique in that it also asked adolescents about advertising in magazines, on radio and elsewhere.

"We did a previous study that found that children as young as fourth grade were very familiar with alcohol advertising and can tell you slogans and brand names," said Rebecca Collins, a Rand senior behavioral scientist and lead author of the research. "This new study shows that by the time they get to sixth grade, ads may be influencing them to drink."

The study is available online in the Journal of Adolescent Health and will appear in the journal's June print issue.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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