Page last updated at 01:16 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Parents warned over teen drinking

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Parents who let their children drink small quantities of alcohol may be putting them at risk, according to England's chief medical officer.

Sir Liam Donaldson said evidence did not support the notion that giving youngsters alcohol early in life prevented drinking problems later on.

"The more they get a taste for it, the more likely they are to be heavy drinking adults or binge drinkers later in childhood," Sir Liam said.

But he said parents could show how alcohol can be consumed responsibly in a "positive" setting, such as a family meal.

He made the comments as he published a report which suggested parents support the idea that teens under 15 should have no alcohol at all.

Diane Hoggarth, who lets her 16-year-old daughter Sophie drink small quantities of alcohol, is against a complete 'ban'.

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