Māori children more exposed to alcohol marketing

By Jessica Tyson

Innovative camera research by the Universities of Otago and Auckland have found that Māori and Pacific children are five times more likely to be exposed to alcohol marketing than Pākehā children.

Co-author Professor Louise Signal says the higher rates of exposure to alcohol marketing for Māori children demonstrates that the government is not meeting its obligations to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.

"Particularly as Māori are 1.5 times more likely to be hazardous drinkers than non-Māori."

The research involved children wearing cameras and GPS devices to examine their world.

Lead researcher Tim Chambers says the findings are a “real concern”.

“There is now a large evidence base that shows exposure to alcohol marketing is associated with increased childhood alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm," Chambers says.

He says the lack of effective controls on the location of alcohol outlets around schools leads to the normalisation of alcohol in children's environments.

"This research provides further evidence of the need for legislative restrictions on alcohol marketing and availability, specifically, increasing marketing restrictions on alcohol outlet shopfronts and the location of alcohol outlets,” he says.

As part of the study, a random selection of 168 children between the ages of 11- 13 from 16 randomly selected schools in the Wellington region took part in the study.

They wore devices, which recorded photos every seven seconds and locations every five seconds over four days between June 2014 and July 2015.