Alcohol use in Bollywood movies impacting alcohol use among Indian adolescents

April 20, 2012

Alcohol use in Bollywood movies is directly influencing the drinking habits of India's adolescents, according to a new study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai.

Overall 10 per cent of the students (aged between 12-16 years) surveyed in the study had already tried . But students that had been most exposed to alcohol use in Bollywood were found to be 2.78 times more likely to have tried alcohol as compared with those who were least exposed. Even when adjustments were made for demographic variables, and characteristics of child and parenting, students were found to be 1.49 times more likely to have tried alcohol if they had been highly exposed to alcohol use in Bollywood films as compared to those who were least exposed.

"These results show that exposure to alcohol use depictions in Bollywood films is directly associated with alcohol use among young people in ," said Dr. G.P. Nazar, Health Related Information Dissemination Against Youth (HIRDAY). "While is banned in all Indian media and scenes that justify or glorify drinking are not allowed in Bollywood films, there is no dedicated health legislation that prohibits the depiction of alcohol in these films and there is a clear need for an immediate alcohol control policy".

Study design

The study set out to determine two things – firstly if India's were exposed to alcohol use in Bollywood films and secondly if this exposure was associated with their own alcohol use.

Fifty-nine popular Bollywood movies were coded to record the number of alcohol use occurrences and 3,956 adolescents were then asked if they had seen these movies. Students were grouped according to their exposure to alcohol use occurrences in these movies. They were then asked about their alcohol consumption status. Students in the fourth quartile – i.e. the quarter than had seen the greatest number of alcohol use occurrences in these movies – were found to be 2.78 times more likely to have tried alcohol compared with those students in the first quartile of exposure.

Alcohol and cardiovascular disease

Drinking too much alcohol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It can raise blood pressure, increase the presence of some fats in the blood stream, and increase calorie intake, which in turn leads to overweight and obesity. One of the key characteristics of the hazardous pattern of drinking is the presence of heavy drinking occasions, defined as consumption of 60 or more grams of pure alcohol per day. Hazardous and harmful drinking results in 2.5 million deaths, each year, globally, of these 14 per cent are due to CVD and diabetes. High levels of alcohol consumption and binge drinking are associated with increased risk of CVD and harmful use of alcohol damages the heart muscle, increases the risk of stroke and promotes cardiac arrhythmia.

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