Images in the media of young, slim, attractive women have not only teenage boys captivated. Young girls are also watching. They want to see what those seemingly-superhuman young starlets are wearing, what makeup they use, what they eat and how they spend their free time. In their emulation of the celebrities, young girls often imitate not only the celebrities’ looks, but their behaviors as well.
One behavior has experts concerned. A significant increase in binge drinking among teen girls has been reported by British government, noting that girls under the age of 15 are currently consuming an average of 11.3 units of alcohol per week. That amount of alcohol can be translated to six medium glasses of wine or five pints of beer.
The average male teen drinker consumes 11.9 alcohol units each week for those between the ages of 11 and 15. This gap, however, signifies the first time that girls have been closer than five percent behind male teens.
In addition, the report notes that young females are passing by wine and beer in favor of more potent forms of alcohol, according to the NHS. Experts believe that glamorous advertising campaigns and the availability of low-priced alcohol in supermarkets are responsible for the significant increase in young girls’ consumption.
The increase carries with it concerns for public health officials, with the health problems associated with binge drinking expected to balloon in the next few years.
In 2009, nearly 2,800 boys were admitted to the hospital for alcohol-specific conditions, such as liver damage or ethanol poisoning. For girls, the number is staggering. At 33 percent higher number of girls admitted, 3,661 girls were treated for alcohol-specific ailments at the hospital. Not included in the figures are treatments for alcohol-related problems, like injury from a fall due to drinking too much alcohol.
The NHS figures on drinking rates were obtained from a survey of nearly 8,000 girls and boys aged 11 to 15 in 2009. Almost half of the girls who responded on the survey reported having consumed alcohol, compared to 52 percent of boys.
If the alcohol consumption trend continues, girls will overtake boys in the next survey.
The responses indicated that nearly three-quarters of the girls had consumed alcohol in the last week, which showed a 38 percent increase since 1990.
Recently, the UK set minimum prices for alcohol in an initiative intended to reduce alcohol consumption and related injury. Policymakers are working to determine what other measures might be used to lower the rate of alcohol use by teenagers.