New study shows messages at sporting events encourage early drinking and ‘risky behaviour’
By Staff Reporter
The president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has urged the next Government to end the sponsorship of sports events by the alcohol industry.
“Today we see further robust evidence that shows that children and young adults deserve to be protected from alcohol advertising messages at sporting events,” said Prof Frank Murray in reference to a new study which shows that alcohol sports sponsorship is associated with “risky drinking among schoolchildren and sportspeople.”
This new study, undertaken by the UK Institute of Alcohol Studies and published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, is a systematic review of evidence on the relationship between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and alcohol consumption from countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Germany and included data from 12,760 participants.
It included a study of Welsh schoolchildren aged between 14 and 15 which found that awareness of alcohol sports sponsorship was linked to an increased chance of getting drunk at the weekend of 17 per cent among boys and 13 per cent among girls.
When the same schoolchildren had both positive attitudes towards alcohol and awareness of alcohol sports sponsorship, the rates were even higher.
Among UK university sportspeople, those receiving alcohol industry sponsorship were four times more likely to report hazardous drinking than non-sponsored sportspeople, the journal paper maintains.
“We believe that the alcohol industry has no place in the sports ground,” said Prof Murray. “Children and young adults are increasingly participating and attending sporting events, which have long-term benefits for their health and wellbeing.
“As a society we should be protecting them from the targeted and sophisticated messaging of the alcohol industry that clearly is recruiting the next generation of drinkers to support the profits of the alcohol industry into the future.”
Prof Murray also called on the new Government to adopt and implement the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, describing it as “a great opportunity to reduce the harm and suffering caused by alcohol.”