Skip Navigation Links
 



                     


 



   
    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
 
 
 
FREE HEALTH
NEWSLETTER
 
 
Walking Quiz
Which of the following in NOT a direct benefit of a regular walking regimen?
 
 
 
 
H
olistic Healthcare for Children
 


Preschoolers Use of Cigarettes and Alcohol

© Randall Neustaedter OMD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Holistic Healthcare for Children by Randall Neustaedter OMD. View all columns in series
Excerpt from Child Health Guide: Holistic Pediatrics for Parents, North Atlantic Books, 2005

A fascinating study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in September 2005 draws some remarkable conclusions about the awareness in preschoolers of their parents’ drinking and smoking habits.

The study included 120 children, 2 to 6 years old. The children were predominantly white, living in a rural or semirural area, and 87 percent of the children had parents with college degrees or higher. Each child was asked individually to play a game of shopping and choose products at the “store,” buy them at the check-out counter, and bring them home. Props for the play scenario included a Barbie store stocked with 73 different miniature products. Adult dolls were used to choose the products, which included fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy, breads, desserts, snacks, candy, toiletries, beer, wine, and cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarette products accounted for 11 percent of items stocked in the store. The children were also asked to identify the products to verify their awareness of their choices. Parents completed a questionnaire concerning their alcohol and tobacco use, and the children’s exposure to movies.

Children’s choices reflected items expected as their preferences (66 percent purchased cake). They also bought items that adults would typically buy (77 percent purchased at least one fruit or vegetable, and 38 percent purchased chicken). In addition, 62 percent of the children bought alcohol, and 28 percent of the children bought cigarettes.

Analysis of the data revealed that children whose parents smoked or drank alcohol were much more likely to purchase these items. Children whose parents smoked were 4 times as likely to buy cigarettes compared to children whose parents did not smoke. Similarly, children whose parents drank alcohol at least monthly were 3 times as likely to buy beer or wine compared to those with parents who drank less than once a month. The researchers also noted that children were 5 times more likely to purchase alcohol if they watched PG-13 or R rated movies compared to children who watched only G-rated movies infrequently.

The children revealed their awareness of their choices with telling comments as well.

A 6-year-old boy offered Barbie the cigarettes saying: “Honey, have some smokes. Do you like smokes? I like smokes.”

After returning from the store with beer, a 4-year-old girl said, “The girls are going to go back to the store [to shop] while the boys stay here and drink [beer].”

After “eating,” a 6-year-old girl said to her “friend” (the other doll), “Let’s smoke these now. Here, which ones do you want?” She took Marlboros for herself and offered the Camels to the doll. “Let’s go outside and smoke these.” The researcher asked why they had to go outside, and the child replied, “Because it’s bad for your lungs or something.”

The authors conclude that “preschoolers have already begun to develop behavioral expectations regarding the use of cigarettes and alcohol…. The data provide compelling evidence that the process of “initiation,” which typically involves shifts in attitudes and expectations about the behavior, begins as young as 3 years of age.” Although parents often believe that children at this young age do not think about tobacco or alcohol, prevention of these behaviors should probably begin with 2 or 3 year-olds. And parents need to evaluate their own behavior as role models to create healthy habits in their very impressionable children.

Add your comment      
About The Author
Dr. Randal Neustaedter has practiced holistic medicine for more than thirty years in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in child health care. He is a licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine, as well as education director of the Holistic Pediatric Association www.hpakids.org, author of Child Health Guide and ...more
 
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
 
 
 
 
 
 
From Our Sponsor
 
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training - Level I
     February 18-May 20, 2014
     Los Angeles, CA USA
 
Additional Calendar Links
 
Wellness, Transcending, dimension!

Search   
Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Stevia.com      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.