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'Alcohol use in movies drive teens to booze'

Films featuring characters drinking alcohol can predispose youngsters to experimenting with alcohol at an early age, says a study.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 18:08 IST
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Movies are a powerful medium that influence young minds profoundly, and now a new study has revealed that films featuring characters drinking alcohol can predispose young adolescents to experimenting with alcohol at an early age.

It is the first research study to measure the influence of alcohol use in movies and, using data from more than 600 films and 5,000 students, found that movies play a significant role in an adolescent's decision to drink at a young age.

The regional study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and the authors cite previous research that identified early initiation of alcohol use (before the age of 14) as one risk factor for problems with alcohol later in life.

"Each year that kids delay experimenting with alcohol can help them avoid some of the serious consequences that drinking at a young age can contribute to, including drinking and driving and alcohol dependence," said the lead author of the study Dr. James Sargent, professor of pediatrics at DMS.

"This study is aimed at the prevention of early alcohol use and our hope is that parents of young children become more aware that drinking in films is common and that seeing these depictions can lead to early experimentation with drinking," he added

Overall, researchers calculated that the typical child who took part in the survey was exposed to about 8 hours of alcohol use through movies.

"If you think about how many 30 second beer commercials one can fit into eight hours, it's a staggering number--over 1000" said Sargent.