American teenage girls drink more than their parents realise, according to recent research.

Spirits industry group the Century Council unveiled data earlier this week, showing that, while 16% of 13- to 15-year-olds admit to drinking alcohol, only 5% of mothers suspect their daughters of drinking.

Most parents first view it as a serious problem, but change messages from "don't do it," to "be safe" as their daughters age, the Council noted. Some 30% of girls aged 16 to 18 regularly drink alcohol, but only 9% of their mothers think so.

A fifth of American mothers think underage drinking is a natural part of growing up and 38% approve of it on special occasions. The majority of girls between 13 and 18 responded that associated risks like alcohol poisoning, rape and STDs would most likely keep them from drinking.

The Century Council is behind a programme to help curb underage drinking in the US.