Kids as young as 11 see alcohol ads on a daily basis, through television, billboards and signs, new research shows.
Black and Hispanic children were especially likely to be exposed to such ads, as were girls, the study authors added.
The researchers said they fear that exposure to these ads will encourage kids to drink when they’re under age.
“The evidence is strong that kids are at greater risk if they’re exposed to alcohol advertising,” said study leader Rebecca Collins. She is a researcher with the Rand Corp., a nonprofit global policy think tank.
The findings are based on the experiences of nearly 590 Los Angeles-area children, aged 11 to 14, who used hand-held devices to record each time they encountered alcohol ads over a two-week period.
The study found that the kids typically saw two to four ads a day. Hispanic and black kids saw more ads, an average of three or four a day, respectively, while white kids saw an average of two ads a day, the findings showed.
“It’s pretty disturbing that African American kids saw twice as many ads,” Collins said.
The research suggests that girls see 30 percent more ads than boys, possibly because alcohol advertisers are expanding beyond TV sports, Collins suggested. Girls also read more magazines than boys, she added.
Outdoor billboards and signs (such as those outside stores and restaurants) accounted for 38 percent of ads. TV commercials accounted for another 26 percent, according to the report published in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Collins said the findings should encourage policymakers to focus on outdoor alcohol advertising. And, she said, parents should be aware.
“Just know that kids’ decisions to drink don’t suddenly come up in college,” Collins said in a journal news release. “Young kids are being exposed to alcohol ads all the time, and that can influence them.”
For more about alcohol and children, visit HelpGuide.org.
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