A new study recommends starting alcohol prevention programs at an earlier age.
University of Minnesota researchers found that nearly one in six adolescents had already experimented with drinking by the time they reached sixth grade. That's the year many schools begin providing alcohol prevention programs.
Lead author of the study Keryn Pasch said once students started drinking, the study showed they were less receptive to prevention programs than their peers.
"Traditionally alcohol prevention programs are universal intervention programs for all students," said Pasch. "And it's suggested that we might need to start earlier if we want to do universal prevention programs when the groups are more similar, so that our messages are really affecting everyone in the same way."
Pasch said it might be more effective to target kids between third and fifth grade.
The study is published in the online edition of the journal "Health Education and Behavior."