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Study: UK Pre-teens consuming Excessive Wine

Posted: Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:01

Study: UK Pre-teens consuming Excessive Wine

Nov 02: In what may be considered a controversial study, at least in terms of the credibility of data collection, a recent UK report based on a survey by the Schools Health Education Unit found that 4% of 12 to 13 year olds admitted to drinking 28 or more units of alcohol, the equivalent of 19 glasses of wine in the previous week.

The levels of alcohol consumption exceed the Government's guidelines- men are recommended to drink a maximum of three to four units and women advised to restrict to two to three units daily.  Three units are equivalent to two small glasses (125 mL or 6 glasses to a bottle) of wine with 12-13% alcohol higher the alcohol, higher the units of alcohol consumed and the lesser the quantity one ought to drink to follow the guidelines.

According to the report published by Telegraph, based on data collected from more than 83,000 students  in Year six,eight and ten from across the UK, revealed that 11% of Year 10 pupils drank more than 10 units of alcohol in the ‘last’ week.

Beer, larger and cider are reportedly popular choices with boys, while girls are opting for wine and spirits, according to the report. Almost a third of the Year 10 boys questioned drank at least a pint of beer or lager in the previous seven days, while one in five had had one or more pints of cider. Of the Year 10 girls questioned, one in five drank at least one measure of spirits in the previous week, while 16% had one or more glasses of wine. Around a quarter of all the Year 10s admitted they had got drunk at least once in the previous seven days, with about 15% getting drunk more than twice in the week.

Most are drinking at home or the house of a friend or relation, with only a small number buying alcohol from a supermarket, nightclub or other retailers.

Alcohol Concern said: "As well as the well-publicised trouble caused by young people drinking to get drunk in city centers at weekends, involvement in a drinking subculture at a young age can easily cause consumption to escalate.”Although the 'drink to get drunk' culture is well-established and will not change quickly, there are things that can be done to help.”

"Firstly, availability should be controlled through a minimum price for alcohol and enforcement of the licensing law on sales to minors (and to those over 18 appearing to be drunk).”Secondly, alcohol marketing activities, which reinforce the appeal and necessity of alcohol in social situations, should be restricted to over-18s."  (In India the legal age is 25 years in most states)

In UK where one frequently hears about excessive alcohol consumption, especially among women and several methods adopted y the government do not seem to have yielded the desired results, this may be shocking for the non-drinkers. But, as one of the readers of the newspaper aptly puts it, the results may be highly exaggerated as the statements by the pre-teens who are given to bragging, especially about drinking amongst peers, the data used in the study might have been overly skewed towards excesses.

However, the Brits have reasons to be cautious and concerned. As another reader comments, it is fine to drink a glass of two but wonders how many stop at that level- certainly not the young. And there lies the problem; India might be faced with a similar problem in another 50 years too. Responsible and moderate drinking of wine, beer or other hard liquors with the validated reasons given by the parents to their children would be an all-important factor. 


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