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Teens who Live Near Bottle Shops are more likely to Drink

Update Date: Nov 15, 2013 08:27 AM EST
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Every day decisions that people make, regardless of their age, are greatly affected by the environment. In a new study, researchers from Deakin University in Australia examined the effects of bottle shops, which are stores that sell alcohol, on young teenagers. Young teenagers can be very impressionable by several factors, such as peer pressure. In this study, the research team headed by Dr. Bosco Rowland, the university's Alfred Deakin Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, found that young teenagers that lived near bottle shops or had bottle shops close to school were more likely to drink alcohol.

For this study, the team looked at data on over 10,000 Victorian secondary school students who were between the ages of 12 and 17. The data came from a study conducted in 2009. The research revealed that as the number of alcohol stores increased near children's schools, the rate of alcohol use also increased. The team stated that the most vulnerable children were young teenagers between the ages of 12 and 14. During the study, which lasted one year, the researchers calculated that 61 percent of the student had drunk alcohol.

"We compared increases in different types of alcohol sales outlets, such as pubs, licensed clubs, takeaway liquor stores, and cafes/restaurants," Rowland explained according to Medical Xpress. "Increases in adolescent consumption were found when increases in all types of outlets were modeled. However, the greatest increase in consumption was found when the number of takeaway alcohol outlets increased. This may be because takeaway alcohol outlets face heavy competition and may be more tempted to sell to underage youth.

The researchers believe that their findings suggest that more needs to be done in order to curb liquor use in young children. The researchers also stated that consuming alcohol might appear to be normal for young children who have parents that provide it for them. These parents argue that if they give alcohol to their children during dinner or to parties, they can monitor how much their children drink. However, the researchers stressed that alcohol consumption, especially in young teens, should not be promoted at all.

"The most recent evidence indicates that drinking alcohol during adolescence impacts on brain development," Rowland said. "Drinking affects learning difficulties, motivation, and impulse control. There needs to be more publicity of the national recommendation that youth should wait till they're 18 before using alcohol. To help children to avoid alcohol before 18, parents should set a rule that they do will not provide or condone alcohol consumption before the age of 18."

The study was provided for by Deakin University.

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