Table 2

Findings from a selection of studies on alcohol use among children

CountryContext/populationAge in yearsDefinition of intake and cut-offPrevalence, rounded to the closest whole number
Uganda24Children with a high score (≥ 14) on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire5–8Alcohol dependence and abuse according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria8%
Argentina25Elementary school children8–12Alcohol taste and repeated drinking (no distinction between taste and whole drink)Taste:
66% at 8 years, 47% at 9 years,
82% at 12 years
Repeated drinking:
28% at 8 years, 23% at 9 years,
55% at 12 years
Vietnam,14 also includes data from Indonesia, the Philippines, and ThailandNon-migrant vs migrant households where one or both parents were transnational migrants9–11Alcohol, ‘Have you ever had a drink of beer, wine, or liquor—not just a sip or a taste of someone else’s drink— more than two or three times in your life?’Indonesia: 0.2%
Philippines: 6%
Thailand: 4%
Vietnam: 17% (21% at 9 years, 14% at 10 years 15% at 11 years)
Vietnam27Population survey, urban, rural, mountain10–19Alcohol intake, cut-off was not specified6% at age 10–11
11% at 12–13
11% at 14–15
28% at 16–17
30% at 18–19
USA15Random sampling of child–parent dyads for a longitudinal study8–10If they ever had a sip or a taste of beer, wine or liquor and if they ever had a drink of alcohol (not just a sip or a taste of someone else’s drink) in their life.Sips/tastes only:
35% at 8 years
48% at 10 years
A drink of alcohol:
5% at 8 years
7% at 10 years
Peru28Rural5–12Parent report of child consumption of the local alcoholic brews Chicha de Jora and Clarito, made from fermented maize. The cut-off for amount was not specified.61% Chicha de Jora
31% Clarito
England26Birth cohort10Child report of alcohol use past 6 months, binary yes/no assessment, no specified cut-off.1% of girls
3% of boys
(Before and after imputation)
Resource-constrained settings16Systematic review of substance use (including alcohol) among street-connected children0–24Pooled prevalence of alcohol use from 29 of the included studies. Quantity and frequency of intake were not specified, but the systematic review included studies on lifetime use and current use, defined as intake within the past 30 days.Pooled prevalence of alcohol use: 41%