Young African Americans are exposed to "substantially" more alcohol advertisements compared to youths in general, researchers at Johns Hopkins University say.
African American youths between the ages of 12 and 20 see approximately 30 percent more advertisements for alcohol in magazines and almost 20 percent more on TV, according to a new report released by the university.
"Industries target the black community with their products," says Dr. David Jernigan, who heads Johns Hopkins' Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. "And the second reason is black kids consume media at a higher rate than young people in general."
Black young people drink less than youths in general, Jernigan says, but that is because of a number of protective factors.
"Lower incomes, strongly religious communities," he says. "An awful lot of the ads that they're exposed to don't have black characters in them, so the black young people may not identify with them."
But research shows that the consequences are worse for African Americans who drink, Jernigan says.
"They're going be worse, because you're less likely to have access to health care," says Jernigan. "And they are also going to be worse, because if you engage in the criminal justice system, the outcomes are worse in general than for white people."
Approximately one-third of African American high school students in the country are current drinkers, and approximately 40 percent of those report binge drinking, according to a national survey.
Jernigan says alcohol companies of having weak standards for where they place their alcohol advertisements. Instead, ads need to be in places where youths who can't legally drink, are less likely to see them, he says.
Excessive drinking contributes to approximately 4,700 deaths among underage youths each year.