A Taste of Alcohol in Childhood Could Lead to More Drinking in Adolescence

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New research from Brown University suggests that children whose parents allow sips of alcohol at a young age may be more likely to binge drink by adolescence, reports LiveScience. According to this study, it was found that children who had tasted alcoholic beverages before middle school were five times more likely to have a full drink by ninth grade, compared to their classmates who had not tried any alcohol.

These kids who had been granted a few sips here and there were also found to be four times more likely to get drunk or binge drink by their first semester of high school versus their counterparts who withheld.  The study itself took 561 middle school students from Rhode Island and followed them over a three year period from sixth grade through ninth grade. Multiple times each year the kids were asked about their alcohol, tobacco and drug use.

Of the thirty percent that had sipped alcohol before sixth grade (outside of religious rituals), 26 percent had consumed a full drink by ninth grade and nine percent had gotten drunk. In those kids that hadn’t consumed alcohol before sixth grade, only six percent had consumed a full drink by high school and two percent had gotten drunk.

These findings, while hardly definitive, offer an alternative argument to the commonly held belief that children exposed to small amounts of alcohol early in life may be more responsible drinkers. [LiveScience][Photo: Flickr/Maelick]