Bollywood Films Lead Indian Kids to Drink

By McCarton Ackerman 04/20/12

Indian children who see alcohol on the silver screen are three times more likely to try drinking.

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Bollywood has a huge influence on India's culture; a new study shows it's also influencing drinking among children there. Research presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai showed that while 10% of Indian students aged 12-16 had tried alcohol, students who were most exposed to alcohol use in Bollywood films were 2.78 times more likely to have tried it, compared to those who were least exposed. Even when adjustments were made for aspects such as demographic variables and social influences, students most exposed to the alcohol use in these films were 1.49 times likelier to drink. "These results show that exposure to alcohol use depictions in Bollywood films is directly associated with alcohol use among young people in India," says Dr. GP Nazar of Health Related Information Dissemination Against Youth. "While alcohol advertising is banned in all Indian media and scenes that justify or glorify drinking are not allowed in Bollywood films, there is no dedicated health legislation that prohibits the depiction of alcohol in these films and there is a clear need for an immediate alcohol control policy." But findings such as these aren't limited to Bollywooda similar study involving Western films showed that kids most exposed to alcohol in movies are twice as likely to drink as opposed to kids least exposed to it. The average age of first alcohol consumption in India today is 19drastically down from 28 in the 1990s.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.