Prevalence, patterns and predictors of alcohol consumption in a mountainous district of Bhutan

Authors


  • Attributed to: Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand.
  • Bhim N. Subady MB, BS, Doctor, Sawitri Assanangkornchai MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong MD, PhD, Professor.

Correspondence to Associate Professor Sawitri Assanangkornchai, Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, 90110, Thailand. Tel: +66 74451165; Fax: +66 74429922; E-mail: savitree.a@psu.ac.th

Abstract

Introduction and Aims.

South Asian countries, with their diverse cultures, have varying prevalences of alcohol consumption. Little is known about Bhutan, a Himalayan country. The objectives of this study are to estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption among the residents of a rural community in Bhutan and determine their patterns of and factors associated with drinking.

Design and Methods.

A cross-sectional household survey using a multistage systematic sampling technique was conducted in eight sub-districts of Tashiyangtse. A total of 442 subjects of 270 households were surveyed in 17 villages using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), with the tri-level method and face-to-face interviews.

Results.

The drinking prevalence (at least one standard drink in the past year) was 38.5% (52% in men and 30% in women). The prevalence of low-, moderate- and high-risk drinking based on the AUDIT was 22.4%, 13.6% and 2.5%, respectively. Annual per capita alcohol consumption was 5442 and 2566 g in men and women, respectively, while the corresponding values of home-made alcohol consumption were 3768 and 2127 g, respectively. Among drinkers, 30.3% of men and 25.9% of women reported encountering financial consequences. The home was almost the exclusive drinking venue (92.4%). Belief in the medicinal use of alcohol was 34.8% in men and 58% in women as the reason to start drinking. This belief was a strong independent predictor for current drinking after adjustment for age and sex.

Discussion and Conclusions.

Home-made alcohol and home drinking with a belief of medicinal effects were the major cause of drinking and its consequences in the study area. [Subady BN, Assanangkornchai S, Chongsuvivatwong V. Prevalence, patterns and predictors of alcohol consumption in a mountainous district of Bhutan. Drug Alcohol Rev 2013;32:435–442]

Ancillary