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Young people's alcohol consumption from a European perspective: risks and benefits

Young people's alcohol consumption from a European perspective: risks and benefits

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 54 Suppl 1: S52-S55

Objective: This paper aims to examine the functions of adolescent drinking by (a) comparing drinking patterns in Mediterranean and Northern European countries, and (b) examination of the beneficial aspects of drinking and pub-going in a Dutch survey. Design: Data from cross-sectional European surveys in 1988 (Eurobarometer) and 1995 (ESPAD-study) and a Dutch cohort study (three waves, respondents were followed from 1989 to 1994) were used. Subjects: The participants in the Eurobarometer-study were 11,729 people from 12 countries who were interviewed at home. The participants in the ESPAD study were 15-16 y olds from 26 European countries interviewed at school. The participants in the Dutch cohort study were 1063 12-18 y-olds interviewed at school (first wave) and at home (second and third wave). Results and conclusions: The drinking patterns of young people in Mediterranean countries can be characterized as innovative and those of young people in Northern countries as rebellious. The main health risk associated with the innovative pattern is the volume of consumption and associated chronic consequences. The main health risk associated with the rebellious drinking is intoxication and the associated risks concerning violence, traffic accidents and acute health consequences. Furthermore, adolescent drinking and going out should not only be interpreted in terms of risk and negative effects, but seem to have important social and developmental benefits for young people. Sponsorship: The Dutch cohort study was sponsored by the Dutch Cancer Society.

Accession: 011659401

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PMID: 10805039

DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600985

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