A new study shows that the gender gap is disappearing in teen drinking, with teenage girls in the USA now starting to drink alcohol earlier than boys do.
Lead researcher Dr. Hui Cheng of Michigan State University expressed concern. “This is becoming a public health issue,” she said. “We really don’t know why girls are surpassing boys — that’s the next question we want to answer.”
Some of the possible explanations include the greater social acceptance of drinking. Girls reach puberty earlier than boys, and this may be a factor for engaging in risky behaviors. Another explanation may be that younger girls spend time with older boys.
In addition, Cheng mentioned that there is advertising that targets girls, promoting wine coolers and sweet, fruity alcoholic drinks that underage girls who drink prefer.