Youth Exposure to Alcohol Advertising on Television in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany

Published in: European Journal of Public Health, v. 24, no. 4, Aug. 2014, p. 561-565

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Sunil Patil, Eleanor Winpenny, Marc N. Elliott, Charlene Rohr, Ellen Nolte

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Research Question

  1. How extensively are youth in the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany exposed to alcohol advertising?

BACKGROUND: Exposure of young people to alcohol advertising is a risk factor for underage drinking. This study assessed youth exposure to television alcohol advertising in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, from December 2010 to May 2011. METHODS: A negative binomial regression model predicted number of alcohol advertisements from the proportion of the television viewership in each age group. This allowed comparison of alcohol advertisement incidence for each youth age category relative to an adult reference category. RESULTS: In the UK, those aged 10–15 years were significantly more exposed to alcohol advertisements per viewing hour than adults aged ≥25 years [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 1.11; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.06, 1.18; P < 0.01]; in the Netherlands, those aged 13–19 years were more exposed per viewing hour than adults aged ≥ 20 years (IRR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.19, 1.39; P < 0.01). Conversely, in Germany, those aged 10–15 years were less exposed to alcohol advertisements than adults aged ≥25 years (IRR = 0.79; 95% CI: 0.73, 0.85; P < 0.01). In each country, young children (aged 4–9 years in the UK and Germany, 6–12 years in the Netherlands) were less exposed than adults. CONCLUSION: Adolescents in the UK and the Netherlands, but not Germany, had higher exposure to television alcohol advertising relative to adults than would be expected from their television viewing. Further work across a wider range of countries is needed to understand the relationship between national policies and youth exposure to alcohol advertising on television.

Key Findings

  • Adolescents in the UK and Germany have greater exposure to television alcohol advertising relative to adults than would be expected from their TV viewing.
  • Advertising regulations in these countries may not effectively limit adolescents' exposure to alcohol advertising.

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