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Why Black Kids See Far More Alcohol Ads than Youth in General: New Public Health Study

Why Black Kids See Far More Alcohol Ads than Youth in General: New Public Health Study

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This is an important study, ably covered today by's Bridget Huber. She writes:  

African American youth culture is steeped in alcohol. References to booze have long been rife in rap music, and Jay Z, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Ludacris are among the hip-hop luminaries who have promoted alcohol.

A new study puts some fresh data behind long-standing concerns about alcohol marketing to black kids. African Americans ages 12 to 20 see far more alcohol ads on television and in magazines than youth in general, according to a new report by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Researchers said two key factors are at play: Many alcohol ads specifically target African Americans and young blacks consume more media than youth overall. For example, young African Americans watched 53 percent more television than young people in general in 2010, according to Nielsen data cited in the study.

What's also telling is that black youth are watching more television than their counterparts. Researchers have linked excess screen time (whether in front of the television or computer screen) to higher rates of obesity. Some parents report keeping their kids inside because of a lack of safe places to play outside. The study also comes as researchers, advocates and journalists are increasingly examining the food industry's sophisticated marketing of junk food and sugary drinks to children and teenagers. Check out William Heisel's coverage of that marketing in youth sports here.

The study's authors note that alcohol is the drug most frequently used by black youth. What's happening with alcohol and food marketing to youth in your community? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.

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Big Gulps For Little Leagues: Should Coca-Cola Feel Guilty For Funding Youth Sports?   

Photo credit: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth

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