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Middle-schoolers exposed to alcohol ads every day: Study

Middle-schoolers exposed to alcohol ads every day: Study

June 10 | By CAAH Team

It is a known fact that alcohol causes dependency just like any other addictive substance. But unlike other addictive substances, it is legal and easily available. Millions of American teens take to drinking out of curiosity, peer pressure, lack of parental control and a host of other reasons. Though it can be difficult to identify warning signs of alcohol abuse, alcoholism in teen years can have far-reaching effects on physical and mental health.

A new study, titled “Alcohol Advertising Exposure Among Middle School–Age Youth: An Assessment Across All Media and Venues,” published online in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in May 2016 said that children, especially those in their middle schools, are exposed to alcohol advertisements on a regular basis. This can be a factor in encouraging under-age drinking.

Girls exposed to 30% more ads than boys

To measure the extent of exposure of middle school children to alcohol advertisements, the researchers examined 589 kids aged 11-14 years living in Los Angeles.

It was found that middle-schoolers were mostly influenced by alcohol advertisements displayed outdoor, including those shown on billboards and signs outside eating joints and departmental stores, but television also provided a considerable exposure. Children aged 11-14 years were found to see nearly two or four alcohol advertisements a day.

The guidelines laid down by the alcohol industry limits the manufacturers to advertise their products only in the media that mostly comprises adult audience and prohibits them to display ads near schools, playgrounds and churches.

However, the trend is found to be common among Hispanic and African-American children, who saw them on a regular basis, averaging to nearly 3-4 ads per day. The exposure in White children was limited to nearly two ads every day. “It’s pretty disturbing that African-American kids saw twice as many ads,” said lead author Dr. Rebecca L. Collin, a researcher with the RAND Corporation, in Santa Monica, California.

But the most startling fact was that the girls were exposed to 30 percent more advertisements than the boys. However, overall, middle-schoolers are exposed to an average of three alcohol advertisements each day, said the study. While outdoor sources, like billboards and signs, accounted for 38 percent of all advertisements, indoor sources, such as television, contributed to 26 percent of all ads seen by the children.

Stringent guidelines regarding alcohol advertising needed

While trying to comprehend the reason behind more girls being exposed to alcohol advertisements, the researchers realized that advertisements aired on TV sports were mostly dominated by alcohol brands, and with more girls watching sports and reading magazines than before, it could be a possible reason for more girls than boys to watch alcohol advertisements.

Since constant exposure to such ads may trigger drinking habits in school goers, it is necessary that more attention is paid by alcohol manufacturers to curb outdoor alcohol advertising. But most importantly, parents need to be vigilant about the kinds of programs that their kids are watching and the extent to which they are exposed to the marketing gimmicks of various alcohol brands. “The evidence is strong that kids are at greater risk if they’re exposed to alcohol advertising,” said Collins.

Path to recovery

Dozens of theories have been doing the rounds regarding the best way to quit alcohol. While no single method can be deemed as the best, it is necessary that one seeks a proper treatment to avoid any drastic effects of drinking.

Apart from posing an adverse impact on one’s life, drinking over a long period of time can cause problems in relationships and hamper the quality of life. If you or your loved one has been looking for ways to quit drinking, it is time to seek for an immediate treatment.

The Colorado Alcohol Addiction Helpline provides reliable information about various alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado. Our experts available at the 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 can help you with the necessary information on alcohol addiction treatments in Colorado that work relentlessly toward helping addicts in their recovery.

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