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Outdoor alcohol advertising and problem drinking among African-American women in NYC
Date:1/12/2009

January 12, 2009 -- New research conducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health indicates that the advertising of alcohol in predominantly African-American neighborhoods of New York City may add to problem drinking behavior among residents. Prior studies have shown that alcohol advertisements are disproportionately located in African- American neighborhoods, but the impact of such advertising on alcohol consumption has been unclear. The study is currently published online by the American Journal of Public Health.

Participants were 139 African-American women between the ages of 21-49 who resided in Central Harlem. The women were eligible to participate if they reported having at least one alcoholic beverage per month for the past six months, but had no history of a formal medical diagnosis of alcohol or substance abuse. Of the sample, 31% were reported to be problem drinkers, defined in the study as endorsing behaviors such as needing a drink first thing in the morning or feeling guilty about drinking.

The Mailman School researchers examined the relationship between alcohol advertisements in the women's neighborhood blocks and being a problem drinker. The findings showed that both exposure to alcohol advertising and a family history of alcoholism were related to being a problem drinker. But even after the researchers statistically controlled for the effect of having a family history of alcoholism, exposure to advertisements was significantly related to problem drinking. While the advertisements did not target women in particular, the language, imagery, and themes clearly targeted African-American people, the researchers noted.

"We found that, on average, exposure to each alcohol ad in a woman's residential block was associated with a 13% increase in the odds of being a problem drinker," says Naa Oyo Kwate, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School, and the principal investigator of the stu
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Contact: stephanie berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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