Alarming Underage Drinking

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Story Updated: Jun 25, 2013

American kids are trying alcohol earlier and earlier...opening the door for binge drinking later in life.

That's the conclusion of a brand new study out of the University of Pittsburgh.

4-hundred-52 children between the ages of 8 and 18 were asked about their experiences with alcohol... everything from how old they were when they took their first sip...to when they started drinking more than one full drink at a time.

A surprising 37-percent said they'd sipped alcohol by the age of 8. 66-percent had tried it by the time they turned 12. 16 percent of 16-year-olds admitted to binge drinking. And by the age of 18, nearly all had tried alcohol.

The researchers call these findings alarming citing previous studies that suggest early exposure to alcohol can open the door to problem behavior in adolescence- including binge drinking, marijuana use, delinquency, and precocious sexual behavior.

They say parents need to talk to their children about the dangers of underage drinking at a much earlier age than most may believe is necessary.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with health information for healthier living.

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