BACKGROUND: Limited research is available on children's alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms, yet a better comprehension of these factors may be crucial in explaining alcohol use later in life. This study provides insights into alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms in four- to six-year-olds.

METHODS: Participating children (N=329; 48.9% boys) were shown, on a tablet, 18 drawings depicting 72 male and female adults and/or children in various situations and were asked to indicate what the depicted persons drank by touching one of 12 depicted beverages (four alcoholic; eight non-alcoholic). Subsequently, the children were asked to name the beverages and indicate whether they contained alcohol.

RESULTS: Children identified 30.7% of the alcoholic beverages (i.e., beer, champagne, red wine, and white wine) correctly by name and they identified 41.6% of the alcoholic beverages correctly as alcohol-containing. Children more often correctly identified the name and non-alcoholic content of non-alcoholic beverages compared to the name and alcoholic content of alcoholic beverages. No sex differences emerged in the correct identification of the name and the content of both alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages. However, alcohol-related knowledge was age-graded. Alcoholic beverages were more often assigned to male adults (39.2%) than to female adults (24.8%) or to children (13.2%). Additionally, alcoholic beverages were more often assigned to adults depicted in the presumably more appropriate situations (e.g., 'when having an indoor party': 37.0%) than to those depicted in the presumably more inappropriate situations (e.g., 'when driving a car': 28.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: Four- to six-year-olds already have knowledge about alcohol and its norms in adult culture. Insight into the development of children's alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms over time is required to investigate the transitions to alcohol expectancies, drinking motives, and alcohol initiation often occurring in adolescence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

Published in General Health

INTRODUCTION: Youth obesity rates in Canada continue to rise. In this study, we produced conservative estimates of the potential excess calories from alcohol use across different alcohol consumption patterns common among Canadian youth to assess whether alcohol use should be considered in future obesity prevention strategies.

METHODS: Using data from 10 144 Grade 12 students participating in the COMPASS study (2013/14), we estimated the number of calories consumed per year from alcohol consumption. Our estimates were based on three different generic types of alcoholic beverages, which were grouped according to average calorie content (vodka coolers; beer [5%]; and beer [4%], wine and liquor) across different frequencies of alcohol use and binge drinking.

RESULTS: Results indicated high potential caloric intake for students who binge drank, as well as high variability in the estimates for calories consumed based on common consumption patterns for the different beverage types. For instance, 27.2% of students binge drank once per month, meaning they consumed between 6000 and 13 200 calories in one year (equivalent to 0.78 - 1.71 kg of fat). For the 4.9% of students who binge drank twice per week, the total calories in one year would range from 52 000 to 114 400 (equivalent to 6.74 - 14.83 kg of fat).

CONCLUSION: Current recommendations for preventing youth obesity do not generally include any consideration of alcohol use. The high prevalence of frequent alcohol consumption and binge drinking by youth in this study and the substantial number of calories contained in alcoholic beverages suggest alcohol use among youth may warrant consideration in relation to youth obesity prevention.

Published in General Health

The introduction of health warnings on labels to correct externalities associated with alcohol consumption is heavily debated and has been explored from different perspectives. The current paper aims to analyse the interest and attitudes of Italian university students regarding health warnings on alcoholic beverages and to verify the existence of segments that differ in terms of attitudes towards such warnings. Our results show that young consumers consider health warnings quite important, although the degree of perceived utility differs in relation to the type of warning. Cluster analysis shows the existence of three groups of young consumers with different degrees of attention and perceived utility of warnings on alcoholic beverages, but also in relation to drinking behaviour and awareness of social and health risks related to alcohol consumption. In brief, Italian young adults with moderate consumption behaviour view label warnings positively, while this attitude is weaker among younger adults and those with riskier consumption behaviours. Our findings, albeit limited and based on stated and not revealed data, support the need for appropriate tools to improve the availability of information among young adults on the risks of excessive alcohol consumption and increased awareness of the importance of moderate drinking.

Published in Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: Energy drinks are popular beverages that are supposed to counteract sleepiness, increase energy, maintain alertness and reduce symptoms of hangover. Cognitive enhancing seems to be related to many compounds such as caffeine, taurine and vitamins. Currently, users mostly combine psychostimulant effects of energy drinks to counteract sedative effects of alcohol. However, recent literature suggests that this combination conducts to feel less intoxicated but still impaired. The goal of the present article is to review cognitive impact and subjective awareness in case of caffeinated alcoholic beverage (CAB) intoxication.

METHOD: PubMed (January 1960 to March 2016) database was searched using the following terms: cognitive impairments, alcohol, energy drinks; cognition, alcohol, caffeine.

RESULTS: 99 papers were found but only 12 randomized controlled studies which explored cognitive disorders and subjective awareness associated with acute CAB or AED (alcohol associated with energy drinks) intoxication were included.

DISCUSSION: The present literature review confirmed that energy drinks might counteract some cognitive deficits and adverse effects of alcohol i.e. dry mouth, fatigue, headache, weakness, and perception of intoxication due to alcohol alone. This effect depends on alcohol limb but disappears when the complexity of the task increases, when driving for example. Moreover, studies clearly showed that CAB/AEDs increase impulsivity which conducts to an overconsumption of alcohol and enhanced motivation to drink compared to alcohol alone, potentiating the risk of developing addictive behaviors. This is a huge problem in adolescents with high impulsivity and immature decision making processes.

CONCLUSION: Although energy drinks counteract some cognitive deficits due to alcohol alone, their association promotes the risk of developing alcohol addiction. As a consequence, it is necessary to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these interactions in order to better prevent the development of alcohol dependence.

Published in General Health
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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.