Navigation Links
Study: Lower Legal Drinking Age Increases Poor Birth Outcomes
Date:5/21/2009

Amid renewed calls to consider reducing the legal drinking age, a new University of Georgia study finds that lower drinking ages increase unplanned pregnancies and pre-term births among young people.

Athens, Ga. (Vocus) May 21, 2009 -- Amid renewed calls to consider reducing the legal drinking age, a new University of Georgia study finds that lower drinking ages increase unplanned pregnancies and pre-term births among young people.

"Our findings suggest that a lower drinking age increases risky sexual behavior among young people, and that leads to more unplanned pregnancies that result in premature birth and low birth weight," said study author Angela Fertig, assistant professor in the UGA College of Public Health. "The take-home message is that when it's easier for young people to get alcohol, birth outcomes are worse."

Fertig, who is also a public service assistant in the university's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, co-authored the study with Tara Watson, assistant professor of economics at Williams College in Massachusetts. Their results appear in the May issue of the Journal of Health Economics.

The team examined birth records and survey data on alcohol use for the years 1978 to 1988, a period when state minimum drinking age laws were in flux. Fertig said the consensus among researchers is that a higher minimum drinking age reduces fatal car crashes and alcohol consumption among young adults, but there is little data on how drinking age laws influence infant health. The researchers found that a drinking age of 18:

 
  • Increases prenatal alcohol consumption among 18- to 20-year-old women by 21 percent;
  • Increases the number of births to 18- to 20-year-olds by 4.6 percent in white women and 3.9 percent in 18- to 20-year-old African-American women;
  • Increases the likelihood of women under age 21 having a low-birth weight baby by 6 percent (4 percent for white women and 8 percent for African-American women); and
  • Increases the likelihood of premature birth by 5 percent in white women under age 18 and by 7 percent in African-American women under age 18.

Fertig noted that in many cases the impact of a reduced drinking age disproportionately falls on African-Americans. The researchers found that a drinking age of 18 increases the probability of an unplanned pregnancy by 25 percent for African-American women, for example.

The team's analysis revealed that the negative birth outcomes associated with a lower drinking age aren't the direct result of prenatal alcohol consumption on fetal health. Instead, a lower minimum drinking age results in more unplanned pregnancies, which are known to be associated with poorer infant health outcomes.

"Teenagers who get pregnant unexpectedly are less likely to receive good prenatal care and may not take as much interest in the child as someone who tried to get pregnant," Fertig said. "As a result of these behaviors on the mom's part, the child ends up with worse outcomes."

Last year, a group known as the Amethyst Initiative comprised of more than 100 college and university presidents and chancellors signed a statement encouraging discussion about lowering the legal drinking age. Fertig said her study broadens the debate by adding a new dimension that until now has not been considered.

"There are consequences to lowering the drinking age beside traffic fatalities," Fertig said. "There's this potentially big effect on birth outcomes, and to me that argues that we should leave the minimum drinking age where it is."

Note to editors: UGA President Michael F. Adams was not among the signers of the Amethyst Initiative statement.

Note to editors: A photo of Fertig is available for download at http://www.photo.alumni.uga.edu/news/23636-010.jpg

Contact:
Angela Fertig
706/542-9332
www.uga.edu

# # #

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/lower_drinking_age/birth_weight/prweb2449654.htm.


'/>"/>
Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2009 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study: Lower legal drinking age increases poor birth outcomes
2. Study: Smoking bans do not cause job losses in bars and restaurants
3. New Economic Impact Study: Obama Administration Implementation of Bush-Era Medicare Regulation Will Cost U.S. $2.5 Billion in Business Activity, Cut Over 30,000 Jobs
4. New Study: Keep Kids With Diarrhea Out of Pool - Swim Diapers Not Best Solution
5. Study: Women with hard to diagnose chest pain symptoms at higher risk for cardiovascular events
6. 30-year follow-up study: Tremendous impact of smoking on mortality and cardiovascular disease
7. Study: Vibration plate machines may aid weight loss and trim abdominal fat
8. Study: Furniture tip-over injuries rising
9. Hopkins Childrens study: Folic acid may help treat allergies, asthma
10. Study: Lizards bask for more than warmth
11. National Physicians Study: Nearly One Third Would Choose Different Career Today
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study: Lower Legal Drinking Age Increases Poor Birth Outcomes
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... The American Board of Family Medicine's (ABFM) Board of Directors has ... succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon his retirement. Dr. Newton will serve in the ... at the end of 2018. Upon assuming the role of President and CEO on ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 ... ... of Pharmacy (SOP) alumni Hannah Randall, PharmD ‘17, and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ... on guideline updates for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases during the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many ... dementia. However, many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the ... 90-day elimination period, when the family pays for care, is often waived, so the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th ... Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Coveros, a leader ... been awarded a contract by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). ... the enterprise use of Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value manner ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... 2017  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ... PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across Massachusetts , ... by offering no-cost* flu shots through the end of the month. ... insurance regulations. ... get a flu shot is by the end of October, according to ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. ... day with the investment community and media to further ... call will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, ... webcast of the conference call through a link that ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile ... the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. ... regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage in ... to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people to ... more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: