One out of five 13-year-olds has tried alcohol
Young people drink because of peer pressure. Few of them are aware of alcohol's effect on sports. "Give teenagers good reasons not to drink," says Magnus Jägerskog, the managing director of IQ, which is a subsidiary company of Systembolaget (the government-owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden). More than every fifth 13-year-old has at some point tried alcohol. It’s most common among boys: More than one of four boys makes his alcohol debut at age 13, or even earlier. In the study, where 513 youth ages 15 to 17 participated, almost three of four said they tried alcohol before reaching legal age. The study also shows that the majority of these youth don’t know or understand the effects of alcohol in relation to sports practice. “I thought that most sports organizations had an alcohol policy, but in the study hardly four out of 10 declare there are clear rules about alcohol in their organization. These organizations ought to highlight these questions,” says Jägerskog, who believes that sports organizations could help teenagers handle the peer pressure. “You give them a reason to withstand peer pressure when you say 'in our organization, we have agreed to putting all our efforts on sports, so we don’t drink,'” he concludes.