Introduction. Alcohol is recognized as one of four major risk factors for non-communicable diseases. Exposure to alcoholic beverages during the adolescence has been linked to increased heavier drinking habits: obviously, the age of alcohol initiation resulted an important determinant of alcohol dependence. The aim of this study is to analyze knowledge, attitudes and practices in alcohol habit of adolescent population.
Methods. 943 students from 13 schools (middle and upper secondary schools) of the Bari district were enrolled in the study: in each school one class for each age was randomly selected. The research was carried out by an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire which investigated alcohol consumption, knowledge of alcohol consumption of parents and knowledge of the law regulating alcohol consumption.
Results. 34.8% (328) have never consumed alcoholic drinks while 65.2% (615) declare the use of alcohol; the average age of alcohol initiation was 12.2 years. 35.7% (329/921) of mothers and 36.6% (335/915) of fathers drink alcohol only on special occasions. 17.9% (168/939) considered that alcohol could be free sale at all while 16.4% (154/939) reported that sale is forbidden for children under 14.
Conclusions. The higher prevalence of alcohol habits and the poor knowledge on alcohol law seemed to indicated the need of improving public health efforts in the prevention of alcohol consumption among Italian adolescents.
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