Monday, March 29, 2010
Two new studies exemplify the need for alcohol abuse prevention to take on a heightened focus for public health practitioners, healthcare providers, and policymakers. According to a new national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than a quarter of youth aged 12-20 (27.6 percent) drank alcohol in the past month. Underage drinking rates are as high as 40 percent in some states—especially in New England and the upper Midwest. The study also found that nationwide, almost 9 percent of underage drinkers were able to purchase their own alcohol the last time they drank. In an effort to combat this growing epidemic, SAMHSA and the Ad Council launched a new series of national PSAs to encourage parents to talk to their children about drinking alcohol at an early age.
Another study, which appears in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, finds that the more people drink, the worse their food choices. The study found that as alcohol consumption rose, fruit consumption declined and caloric intake increased among men and women. "This finding raises questions about whether the combination of alcohol misuse and poor diet might interact to further increase health risks," said NIAAA acting director Kenneth R. Warren.
Program Manager, Partnership for Prevention