One Glass of Wine with Meals May Turn Children into Problem Drinkers
More and more middle-class parents are following the example of French families by allowing their children to drink wine with their meals, believing a more relaxed attitude toward alcohol will teach them to drink responsibly.
But a study has found children who are introduced to alcohol by their parents are more likely to become problem drinkers later in life.
The research, to be published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, analyzed data on 6,257 adult male and female Australian twins, recording what age they had their first drink and whether there were genetic or environmental influences on their behavior.
“In this sample of young adults earlier drinking was associated with increased likelihood of a lifetime history of alcohol dependency symptoms, and with reporting more symptoms,” said Dr. Arpana Agrawal, the leader of the team from Washington University in Missouri.
“It was also associated with increased genetic vulnerability to symptoms. Compared with those who consumed their first alcohol drink after the age of 13 to 15, early-onset drinkers appeared to be more genetically susceptible to later alcohol dependency problems,” Dr. Agrawal continued.