• Open Access

A descriptive study of kava use among Tongan men in Macarthur, Sydney South West


Correspondence to:
Della Maneze, Ingleburn Community Health Centre, 59a Cumberland Rd., Ingleburn 2565. Fax: (02) 9618-2219; e-mail: Della.Maneze@sswahs.nsw.gov.au


Objective: To describe the pattern of kava use among Tongan men in Macarthur.

Methods: A kava use survey of Tongan men was conducted between May and October 2006.

Results: Seventy-three Tongan men aged over 18 completed the survey, 90% drank kava regularly at least twice a week with 20 or more cups per session. During the kava sessions the men also reported smoking (26%), drinking alcohol (15%) and consuming foods with high fat or sugar content (29%). Feelings of euphoria were reported during session with alcohol-like hang-over effects the next day. Socialisation was the main reason given for drinking kava.

Conclusions: Kava is consumed regularly and in large quantities by Tongan men in Macarthur. They also consume fatty or sugary foods during the sessions and the smoking rate is high.

Implications: There is a need to reduce smoking and promote the consumption of healthier foods during kava sessions.