TV commercials may influence drinking habit among kids

New York, Sep 10 (IANS) Children are more likely to consume alcohol as they watch more advertisements of a particular brand, a study has revealed.

The research, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, links alcohol advertisement to underage drinking and suggested that TV ads influence the amount of alcohol children consume.

Past studies have found that underage drinkers often have a preference for the brands of alcohol they see in advertisement.

Timothy Naimi, Associate Professor at Boston University School of Public Health and his team found that more the exposure kids had to brand-specific alcohol advertisement on TV , their total amount of consumption of those specific brands was greater.

Also the total consumption of the advertised brands was after adjusting their for consumption for all the non-advertised brands.

This adjustment is important, said Naimi, because it takes into account the fact that those who watch more television may tend to drink more.

For the study, the researchers collected sample of 1,031 kids between 13 to 20 year and who claimed that they had alcohol in the past months.

They were asked whether during the past month they had watched any 20 popular TV shows that featured alcohol commercials and also reported on their consumption.

The researchers measured youths’ advertisement exposure in what they term as “adstock units.”

On average, underage drinkers who had seen zero units had about 14 drinks per month; that rose to about 33 per month by the time they had seen 300 adstock units.

Drinking levels shot up among kids exposed to more than 300 units, reaching 200-plus drinks in the past month.

For parents, Naimi said, the findings may offer extra motivation to curb kids’ time in front of the TV, particularly for programmes featuring alcohol advertisement.

–IANS

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