Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 18th 2015 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, April 18, 2015
In a study of 15-year-olds in the UK, those who
had been most exposed to alcohol use in films were
also most likely to have tried alcohol, and about
twice as likely as the least exposed to have been
After accounting for factors in early childhood, and
even before birth that might explain the link, the asso-
ciations were still "very robust," said lead author
Andrea Waylen of the School of Oral and Dental Sci-
ences in Bristol, England.
The study only looked at a single point in time, so
it cannot prove cause and effect, Waylen noted in an
e-mail. But the results are in line with research from
the USA, Europe and elsewhere that links youth "view-
ing of depictions of alcohol use in movies and the
onset of drinking, regular drinking, binge-drinking
and alcohol-related problems," she said.
Waylen and her coauthors analysed data from anoth-
er long-term study of children born near Bristol
between 1991 and 1992, who were followed periodically
At age 15, more than 5,000 of the kids completed
a computer-based interview, assessing whether they
had seen 50 randomly selected popular contemporary
movies. Researchers had coded how many seconds
of alcohol use appeared in each film, and totaled the
amount each kid had seen based on their answers.
Those who had the least exposure to images of
alcohol had seen 27 minutes or fewer in the study
films. The next highest groups had seen 28 to 44 min-
utes, then 45 to 63 minutes, and those who had seen
the most had seen more than 63 minutes.
The computer interview also included questions
about personal history of alcohol use, current use,
binge drinking and alcohol related problems with
school, work or the police. It asked kids about their
smoking habits, peers drinking habits and questions
that measured "sensation seeking."
The researchers also tried to account for parental
drinking habits and traits, socioeconomic factors over
the child s entire lifetime such as housing stability
and financial difficulties, as well as diagnoses of atten-
tion deficit disorder or other mental health issues.
With those kinds of factors considered, the kids in
the highest film-drinking exposure group were about
20 per cent more likely to have tried alcohol than the
The kids with the highest film-drinking exposure
were about twice as likely to use alcohol weekly, to
binge drink and to have had alcohol-related problems
than those in the lowest exposure group, as reported
Previous studies in the US and elsewhere have found
that exposure to alcohol on screen does predict teen
alcohol use, according to Sonya Dal Cin of the University
of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
"In the US, the MPAA rating system does not specif-
ically mention alcohol use as a ratings criterion," Dal
Cin told Reuters Health by e-mail.
Alcohol use in Hollywood films has been on the
rise in recent years, in part because the alcohol industry
pays for product placement, according to Dr Reiner
Hanewinkel of the Institute for Therapy and Health
Research in Kiel, Germany, who was also not part of
the new research.
"Cigarette product placement in Hollywood movies
is regulated by the Master Settlement with the State
Attorneys General," Hanewinkel told Reuters Health
by e-mail. "Alcohol placements in movies are subject
only to internal self-regulatory guidelines of the indus-
try, guidelines which are inadequate to protect chil-
Movies ought to be certified for alcohol exposure
as they are for violence so that kids and parents can
make informed decisions about movie viewing, and
parents should discuss with their kids the pros and
cons of alcohol use and provide appropriate education
and, if necessary restriction, Waylen said.
"The important thing is education---alcohol is a
drug and can have adverse effects on the lives, not
only of the people who drink but also on their families
and society: people need to be aware of the adverse
effects of irresponsible alcohol use and of the fact that
it could happen to them, " Waylen said. (Reuters)
Alcohol use in movies
tied to teen drinking
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Previous studies in the US and elsewhere have found that exposure to alcohol on
screen does predict teen alcohol use.
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