Sunil Patil1, Eleanor M. Winpenny1, Marc N. Elliott2, Charlene Rohr1, Ellen Nolte1*
1 RAND Europe, Westbrook Centre, Cambridge, UK
2 RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA

Correspondence: Ellen Nolte, RAND Europe, Westbrook Centre, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 1YG, UK, Tel: +44 1223 353329, Fax: +44 1223 358 845, e-mail: enolte@rand.org

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.

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