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Monday, April 8, 2013

Patterns of excess alcohol consumption among school children in two English comprehensive schools


The patterns of excess alcohol consumption among children aged 11–15 years are not routinely assessed in England and neither are the alcohol consumption patterns of adolescents aged 16–18 years. The aim of the present research was to examine patterns of excess alcohol consumption among English school children aged 11–18 years.

1230 children and adolescents, aged 11–18 years were surveyed about their alcohol consumption, and specifically their hazardous drinking, binge drinking and problem drinking.

Sixteen per cent of 11 year olds and 71% of 18 year olds reported having drunk any alcohol in the previous seven days. Thirty-two per cent (n = 199) of girls and 24% (n = 142) of boys gave an affirmative answer to at least one of the CAGE questions, indicating possible problem drinking. Hazardous drinking was associated with norms and age; binge drinking and problem drinking were associated with norms, age and gender.

The study provides further evidence to support the case that excessive alcohol consumption among girls now exceeds that of boys. It would be valuable to collect data on patterns of excess alcohol consumption routinely to enable policy makers to target information and resources appropriately.

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