Melbourne: Children who love to watch sport on television are more likely to get exposed to alcohol ads than those who watch non-sport TV, a new Australian study has found.
Questioning the effectiveness of advertising regulations designed to protect children, the researchers found that 87 per cent of all alcohol adverts during the daytime were in sport TV when hundreds of thousands of children were watching. 
“Taking into account the amount of programming time for sport vs non-sport TV there’, four alcohol adverts in sport for every one in non-sport TV,” said lead researcher Kerry O’Brien, associate professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
“Australian children love watching sport but unfortunately they are going to have to watch a lot of alcohol ads as well,” O’Brien noted.
A clause in Australia’s advertising regulations allowing alcohol advertising in live sport programming during the day when children are watching appears to be responsible for children’s exposure to thousands of alcohol adverts each year, the study suggests.
The study found that there were 6,049 alcohol adverts on free-to-air sport TV in 2012, with significantly more alcohol adverts per hour in sport than non-sport TV.
Most of the alcohol advertising coincided with children and adolescent’s peak viewing times.
Research shows that greater exposure to alcohol advertising in children and adolescents is associated with earlier alcohol initiation and more problematic drinking in later life. 
“Watching sport with your kids is great family entertainment, but if culture is what you see around you, then it’s pretty clear from these results that what children see when they watch sport is a drinking culture,” study co-author Sherilene Carr from Monash University noted.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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