Study: Teens who watch movies featuring booze more likely to binge drink

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(CBS News) - A new study shows that teens who watch movies featuring scenes of people drinking are more likely to binge drink themselves.

Teens who watch movies with booze scenes twice as likely to drink

PICTURES: 25 drunkest countries in the world

Dr. Reiner Hanewinkel from the Institute for Therapy and Health Research in Kiel, Germany and his colleagues administered a survey to more than 16,000 students between the ages of 10 and 19 who attended public schools in Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Scotland.

The teens were asked whether or not they had seen a list of over 600 popular films released between 2004 and 2009 in the various countries. Eighty-six of the films featured at least one scene with alcohol.

Then, the teens were asked about their drinking habits and whether they binge drank, defined as having five or more drinks in one occasion. According to the findings published in Pediatrics, the number of teens who drank increased from 11 percent to 25 percent with exposure to movies that featured alcohol. Binge drinking - having four or more drinks in a short period of time - rose from 4 to 13 percent as well.

The Pediatrics study also echoes findings published in the Feb. 20 issue of British Medical Journal Open, which concluded that U.S. teens were twice as likely to drink if they saw movies featuring scenes with alcohol consumption.

"We did not expect this clear finding, but it shows how influential media are in a young person's life," Hanewinkel told CNN. "Hollywood blockbusters are distributed worldwide, and they have an impact not only on U.S. teens but also abroad."

While the survey cannot show whether the students drank before they watched the films, Hanewinkel said in the report he felt that the films were partially at fault for influencing the teens to drink.

"The striking thing to me is how consistent the results were across countries and cultures," said study co-author Dr. James Sargent, a professor of pediatrics and community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School told HealthDay.

"Whatever you want your alcohol to do for you -- make you feel rich, funny, sophisticated -- you can see that in the movies. That shapes how kids see alcohol and their decisions whether to binge drink."

Do you think watching boozing in films makes teens more likely to drink?

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