Alcohol abstinence and drinking among African women: data from the World Health Surveys

BMC Public Health. 2011;11(1):160 DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-11-160

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: BMC Public Health

ISSN: 1471-2458 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Public aspects of medicine

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS

Røislien Jo
Martinez Priscilla
Naidoo Nirmala
Clausen Thomas

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Open peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 18 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Alcohol use is increasing among women in Africa, and comparable information about women's current alcohol use is needed to inform national and international health policies relevant to the entire population. This study aimed to provide a comparative description of alcohol use among women across 20 African countries.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Data were collected as part of the WHO World Health Survey using standardized questionnaires. In total, 40,739 adult women were included in the present study. Alcohol measures included lifetime abstinence, current use (≥1 drink in previous week), heavy drinking (15+ drinks in the previous week) and risky single-occasion drinking (5+ drinks on at least one day in the previous week). Country-specific descriptives of alcohol use were calculated, and K-means clustering was performed to identify countries with similar characteristics. Multiple logistic regression models were fitted for each country to identify factors associated with drinking status.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>A total of 33,841 (81%) African women reported lifetime abstinence. Current use ranged from 1% in Malawi to 30% in Burkina Faso. Among current drinkers, heavy drinking varied between 4% in Ghana to 41% in Chad, and risky single-occasion drinking ranged from <1% in Mauritius to 58% in Chad. Increasing age was associated with increased odds of being a current drinker in about half of the countries.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>A variety of drinking patterns are present among African women with lifetime abstention the most common. Countries with hazardous consumption patterns require serious attention to mitigate alcohol-related harm. Some similarities in factors related to alcohol use can be identified between different African countries, although these are limited and highlight the contextual diversity of female drinking in Africa.</p>