Among Norwegian 12-year-olds, every tenth boy reports drinking at least one serving of alcohol within the past month and three percent say that they have been drunk.
“The fact that there are so many young people in Norway who on a monthly basis drink more than a sip or two of alcohol – and that some 12-year-olds even get occasionally drunk – is worrisome,” researcher Mari-Anne Sørlie from the Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development told the science site Forskning.no.
Sørlie was involved in a study that looked at alcohol usage among seventh graders and the risk factors and upbringing of children who drink. The study was recently published in the journal Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
The study was based on data from a large school survey in which 3,710 seventh graders from across Norway took part. Sørlie said the findings are particularly interesting because there is generally little knowledge about children who drink. That applies to both how many of them drink, how much they drink and what contributes to early alcohol use.
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On the positive side, the survey concluded that most Norwegian seventh-graders have never tried alcohol – 69 percent of boys and 83 percent of girls. But nine percent of the boys and four percent of the girls said that within the previous month they had had at least one glass of beer, wine or spirits.
In addition, 3.1 percent of boys and 0.8 percent of girls said they had been drunk which the study defined as having at least five alcoholic drinks in one sitting.