CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) released the results of two nationwide polls today that reveal the extent of underage consumption and marketing exposure to “alcopops” or so-called “girlie drinks.” The AMA expressed concern that hard-liquor brands are using these sweet-flavored malt beverages as “gateway” beverages to attract less-experienced drinkers.
Key findings of the two polls released Thursday include:
*]Approximately one-third of teen girls report having tried alcopops, and one out of six have done so in the past six months.
*]More teen girls have had alcopops in the past six months than teen boys (31 percent versus 19 percent).
*]Teen girls report drinking alcopops more than other alcoholic drinks, whereas adult women age 21 or older rank it as their least-consumed alcoholic beverage.
*]For teens who have had alcoholic drinks in the past six months, girls drank more in all categories (beer, wine, alcopops and hard-liquor drinks) than boys.
*]Nearly one in six teen girls who have drunk alcopops in the past six months have been sexually active after drinking.
*]One out of four teen girls who have tried alcopops have driven after drinking or ridden in a car with a driver who had been drinking.
*]One out of five teen girls who have tried alcopops have thrown up, or passed out, from drinking.
*]Half (51 percent) of teen girls have seen alcopops ads.
*]Nearly half of all girls aged 16-18 report seeing alcopops ads on TV, compared to only 34 percent of women 21 or older.
*]Teen girls report seeing or hearing more alcopops ads on TV, radio, billboards, the Internet and in magazines more than women 21 or older.
[/list]The Journal of Human Resources reported in 2001 that teen girls who binge drink are 63 percent more likely to get pregnant in their teen years. And compared with non-drinkers, girls who drink suffer from higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts and complications with puberty and menstruation.