UHS launches campaign to educate women on alcohol

October 17, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- University Health Services is launching a new campaign to educate female students on the alcohol industry’s targeting of them.

In a 2008 update of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth data, girls were more likely than boys to be overexposed to alcohol advertising in magazines.The campaign comes at a time when rates of binge drinking are highest among women ages 18-25 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To participate in the campaign, University Park students can grace the cover of Moderna, a fictitious magazine created in University Health Services that highlights the alcohol industry’s strategies. The “casting call” took place in the HUB (ground floor) on Oct. 15 and 16. Students were invited to pose in front of a blown up copy of the magazine to illustrate that they won’t be the alcohol industry’s target. The students’ photos were uploaded to Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #NotATarget.

A report released in January by the CDC revealed that the rate of binge drinking (defined as four or more drinks in two to three hours) is on the rise among women in the U.S. The highest prevalence of binge drinking occurs among women ages 18-25 years old. This age group also engages in drinking more frequently and drinks more per occasion than any other group. Due to biological differences, a woman’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) can reach dangerous levels more quickly, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). A high BAC can increase the likelihood of blacking out, alcohol poisoning and physical injury. Young women who engage in binge drinking while in college may also be at a higher risk for sexual assault and unplanned sexual contact, which may result in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unintended pregnancy.

Increasingly, the alcohol industry is rolling out products that are “low-calorie” or include fruity, sweet flavors in hopes of appealing to a female audience.  

“We hope this campaign gets Penn State women thinking critically about the alcohol industry’s marketing strategies and how they influence consumers’ choices,” said Linda LaSalle, associate director, Health Promotion and Wellness at Penn State.

The Moderna campaign was created by Health Promotion and Wellness in University Health Services. Contact Jill Nadorlik, UHS marketing manager, for more information about the campaign at jen5005@psu.edu or 814-865-7921.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 22, 2013