Most Kids Have Tasted Alcohol by Age 12

According to Medical XPress, sipping or tasting alcohol at an early age is not necessarily related to problem behavior. The results of the study will be published in the online-only version of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research in September. 

“We currently do not have a good handle on how common sipping or tasting alcohol is among children less than 12 years old in the U.S.,” said John E. Donovan, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “There is no ongoing federal surveillance study that asks about child sipping or child drinking…Our own research has found that by age 12, 66 percent of children had sipped or tasted alcohol.”

Previous studies have pointed to significant correlations between sipping or tasting by age 10 and early-onset drinking, which is associated with negative outcomes “such as alcohol abuse and dependence, illicit drug use, prescription drug misuse, delinquent behavior, risky sexual behavior, motor vehicle crashes, job problems, etc.” However, Donovan believes that there isn’t enough data to be sure.

What Donovan has concluded is that the consumption of alcohol amongst children is more related to parent perception and disapproval. He also found that kids exposed to tasting alcohol are not necessarily adopters, however one third of them do become early drinkers. [Medical XPress] [Photo: Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski]