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J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:736249. doi: 10.1155/2012/736249. Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Changes in alcohol behaviour among adolescents in North-West Russia between 1995 and 2004.

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  • 1Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.



Among Russian adults, alcohol consumption with binge drinking was high and increased during past decades. Little is known regarding adolescents' drinking. The present study investigates changes in alcohol-related behaviour among Russian youth between 1995 and 2004.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted among the 15-year-old youths from all schools in Pitkäranta, Republic of Karelia, Russia. In 1995, 385 students participated (response 95%), in 2004-395 (response 85%).


The proportion of abstainers decreased: boys from 26% to 13% (P = 0.002), girls from 23% to 12% (P = 0.007). The age of first alcohol consumption decreased among both genders. First alcohol drinking with friends increased among boys from 65% to 79% (P = 0.031), among girls from 49% to 70% (P = 0.001). Weekly drinking increased: boys from 13% to 28% (P < 0.001), girls from 6% to 15% (P = 0.001). The prevalence on inebriation increased among girls from 45% to 60% (P = 0.012), beer consumption from 8% to 21% (P = 0.006) by 2004. Gender differences were less prominent in 2004.


Negative changes: early drinking initiation and more frequent alcohol consumption were observed among Russian youth by 2004. Regular monitoring, effective policy measures, and health education are necessary to prevent further increase in alcohol consumption and subsequent burden of alcohol-related diseases in Russia.

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