Alcohol industry-funded websites fail to give full evidence on key risks of alcohol consumption in pregnancy

Alcohol industry-funded bodies may increase health risk to pregnant women by disseminating misinformation on their websites, according to a new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the study compared information on alcohol consumption and fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding on the websites of 23 alcohol industry-funded bodies and 19 public health organisations.

It found industry-funded organisations were significantly less likely than independent public health websites to provide information on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and less likely to advise that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Industry-funded websites were also significantly more likely to emphasize uncertainties and less likely to use direct language such as ‘don’t drink’.

The findings suggest that alcohol industry corporate social responsibility bodies use strategic ambiguity and other informational tactics to ‘nudge’ women toward continued drinking in pregnancy to protect the female alcohol market.

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