Rise in Drunkenness Among Eastern European Teens

Eastern European teenagers, particularly girls, are closing the drinking gap with their Western European and American counterparts, Reuters Health reported Oct. 4. According to a new study, the number of adolescents in Eastern Europe who reported getting drunk rose by 40 percent between 1998 and 2006. Although the increase was seen in both genders, the rate was higher among girls.

Conversely, the number of Western Europeans and North American teenagers who reported getting drunk fell by 25 percent over the same period.

The research team that conducted the study, led by Emmanuel Kuntsche, PhD, of the Research Institute at Addiction Info Switzerland, said the rise may be the result of increased alcohol marketing in Eastern Europe since the fall of Soviet control in the region. They hypothesized that increased drinking by girls, seen in both Eastern and Western countries, may be due to changing gender roles — although boys still drank more across the globe.

“Global marketing appears to have succeeded in increasing excessive alcohol consumption among adolescents in Eastern Europe,” wrote Kuntsche and his colleagues. In the West, however, the glut of alcohol ads may have led teens to see drinking as “conformist and traditional,” the researchers said.

The authors recommended that Eastern European countries increase alcohol taxes, target public health initiatives to both boys and girls, and restrict alcohol advertising to stem the rise in teen drinking.

The study was published online Oct. 4 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Rise in Drunkenness Among Eastern European Teens

Eastern European teenagers, particularly girls, are closing the drinking gap with their Western European and American counterparts, Reuters Health reported Oct. 4. According to a new study, the number of adolescents in Eastern Europe who reported getting drunk rose by 40 percent between 1998 and 2006. Although the increase was seen in both genders, the rate was higher among girls.

Conversely, the number of Western Europeans and North American teenagers who reported getting drunk fell by 25 percent over the same period.

The research team that conducted the study, led by Emmanuel Kuntsche, PhD, of the Research Institute at Addiction Info Switzerland, said the rise may be the result of increased alcohol marketing in Eastern Europe since the fall of Soviet control in the region. They hypothesized that increased drinking by girls, seen in both Eastern and Western countries, may be due to changing gender roles — although boys still drank more across the globe.

“Global marketing appears to have succeeded in increasing excessive alcohol consumption among adolescents in Eastern Europe,” wrote Kuntsche and his colleagues. In the West, however, the glut of alcohol ads may have led teens to see drinking as “conformist and traditional,” the researchers said.

The authors recommended that Eastern European countries increase alcohol taxes, target public health initiatives to both boys and girls, and restrict alcohol advertising to stem the rise in teen drinking.

The study was published online Oct. 4 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.