HANOVER, N.H., March 20 (UPI) -- A Dartmouth University study says teens who own merchandise promoting an alcohol brand are more likely to begin drinking than those without such items.
The findings by the Dartmouth Medical School researchers are published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"This study is a first look at the association between alcohol-branded merchandise and initiation of alcohol use in teens," said Dr. Auden McClure, clinical instructor in pediatrics and the study's lead author.
"Our research found that students who owned an alcohol-branded item were significantly more likely to have initiated alcohol use than students who did not own one. We recommend that parents discourage their children from wearing these products and that schools limit the display of alcohol-branded items among students."
Over 2,000 middle school students, ages 10 to 14, took part in the study.
"We worry about early-onset drinking because these kids are more likely to go on to misuse alcohol when they reach high school," said another researcher.