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Medicina is published by MDPI from Volume 54 Issue 1 (2018). Articles in this Issue were published by another publisher in Open Access under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-NC-ND) licence. Articles are hosted by MDPI on mdpi.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Lithuanian Medical Association, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, and Vilnius University.
Open AccessArticle

Trends in alcohol consumption among Lithuanian school-aged children in 1994–2006 and new challenges

1
Institute for Biomedical Research
2
Department of Preventive Medicine, Kaunas University of Medicine
3
WHO Liaison Office for Lithuania, Lithuania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2008, 44(8), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina44080081
Received: 15 April 2008 / Accepted: 1 August 2008 / Published: 6 August 2008
Alcohol abuse is considered one of the most important risk-taking behaviors among young people in the world. This paper presents the results of the WHO collaborative cross-national study on Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) carried out in Lithuania and other European countries also in USA, Canada, and Israel in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006.
Objective. The aim of this study was to analyze features and trends in alcohol consumption among the samples of 11-, 13-, and 15-year-old adolescents (school-aged children) in Lithuania during 1994–2006. Material and methods. Representative samples of 5428, 4513, 5645, and 5632 respondents aged 11, 13, and 15 years were included into school-based questionnaire surveys in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006, respectively. The standardized research methods were applied. The students have filled in the questionnaires anonymously in the classroom according to the methodology of international HBSC study. The students were asked about lifestyle habits, alcohol consumption, and episodes of drunkenness.
Results. The number of students who had been drunk two or more times has increased by 2.5 times (from 9.8%. to 25.6%) during 1994–2006. A significant increase in alcohol consumption was observed among 15- year-old girls – the percentage of girls who have reported alcohol consumption almost approached the percentage of boys (50.3% and 56.8%, respectively; P=0.006). The reported mean age of the onset of first drinking had shifted by 2 years towards younger age during the period of 1994–2006. The comparison of data from 37 countries, participating in this cross-national study, revealed that the prevalence of alcohol consumption among Lithuanian school children is one of the highest (29.0% of boys and 22.1% of girls) and was in the second worst position on a rating scale when comparing with other 36 countries involved in HBSC study. The results suggest that increased use of light alcoholic beverages can cause an increase in the number of drinking teenagers. Ready-to-drink beverages (“alcopops”) at least once per week were used by 15.3% of boys and 17.5% of girls (P=0.216); beer – 16.9% of boys and 5.6% of girls (P<0.001).
Conclusions. A significant shift of the onset of drinking alcohol towards younger age was observed in Lithuania during 1994–2006. In recent years, Lithuanian students as compared to peers from other countries are among those who consume alcohol most frequently.
Keywords: children; adolescents; alcohol; drunkenness; binge drinking; prevalence children; adolescents; alcohol; drunkenness; binge drinking; prevalence
MDPI and ACS Style

Zaborskis, A.; Žemaitienė, N.; Šumskas, L.; Grabauskas, V.; Veryga, A.; Petkevičius, R. Trends in alcohol consumption among Lithuanian school-aged children in 1994–2006 and new challenges. Medicina 2008, 44, 623.

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