Most of the box office blockbuster movies screened in India that are suitable for children contain images of alcohol, according to research published in the online journal BMJ open.
Much tighter controls are needed to protect children and young people from the potential preventable harms of alcohol consumption, the researchers say.
In 2016, alcohol consumption led to 2.8 million deaths worldwide and global alcohol consumption has increased by 38% over the past decade. Although rare among women, nearly one in three men in India now drink alcohol, consuming an average of 18.3 liters per year.
The average age at which people start drinking it is 21, but 1.3% of 10-17 year olds say they drink alcohol, and research shows starting this route early in India is associated with it. to chronic excessive alcohol consumption later in adulthood.
And exposure to alcohol images in movies is an important factor that drives alcohol consumption among young people, as well as the amount they drink, according to the researchers.
But there is very little evidence on the content of alcohol images in films shown in low- and middle-income countries.
In an attempt to fill this knowledge gap, the researchers coded each 5-minute interval in the top 30 domestic box office blockbusters made in India and screened in 2015, 2016 and 2017, depending on whether or not they contained images of alcohol, defined as any use, actual use, implied use, other references to alcohol and appearances of the alcohol brand.
The 30 films included 22 (73%) films in Hindi and 8 (27%) in regional languages ââ(four Tamils, three Telugu and one Malayalam).
Seven (23%) were rated suitable for viewing by all ages (U) and 23 (77%) were rated suitable for viewing by children under 12 under parental supervision under 12 (UA ).
Images of alcohol were seen in almost all (97%) movies, with 195 out of a total of 923 5-minute intervals, and actual alcohol consumption was seen in 25 (83%) movies at 90 ( 10%) intervals.
The occurrence of these and other alcohol-related image categories was similar in films rated U (38 intervals, 17%) and UA (157 intervals, 23%) and Hindi (140 intervals, 21 %) and in the local language (55 intervals, 21%) films.
Alcohol labeling episodes occurred at ten 5-minute intervals in five films, one of which was rated U and the other in a regional language.
âThis study, to our knowledge the first of its kind in India, demonstrates that alcohol images occurred in almost all of this sample of popular films in India, all of which were rated by the [Central Board of Film Certification] in India as viewable without restriction by children (U), or by children under 12 under parental supervision (UA), âthe researchers write.
“Films represent an important source of exposure, not only in terms of the cinematic audience they generate, but also for the potentially larger audience reached when films are shown on television,” they add.
They conclude: âThe prudent approach to avoidable risks is to avoid them, and since the inclusion of images of alcohol in films intended for children is entirely preventable, the protection of children from future alcohol consumption and harm. These problems justify tighter controls on the alcohol content of films intended for children and young people in India. ”
External peer review? Yes
Type of evidence: observational
Topics: Box office blockbuster movies
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