Magnitude and predictors of excessive alcohol use in Ethiopia

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Theodros Getachew
Atkure Defar
Habtamu Teklie
Geremew Gonfa
Alemayehu Bekele
Abebe Bekele
Terefe Gelibo
Kassahun Amenu
Tefera Taddele
Girum Taye
Misrak Getinet
Feyissa Challa
Kissi Mudie
Mulugeta Guta
Yeweyenhareg Feleke
Fassil Shiferaw
Yewondwossen Tadesse
Dejuma Yadeta
Mussie G/Michael
Yabetse Girma
Tedla Kebede
Solomon Teferra


Background: The burden of disease, injury and death associated with excessive alcohol consumption remains high in most countries. Although there were studies done in different parts of Ethiopia that looked at hazardous use and dependence, no national survey was done on excessive alcohol consumption which is an important risk factor for many health and social problems. This study assessed the magnitude and predictors of excessive alcohol use and associated factors in Ethiopia.
Methods: A community based cross-sectional survey was conducted using the WHO STEPwise approach to explore risk factors for NCDs including excessive alcohol consumption. A mix of stratified, three-stage cluster and simple random sampling were used to the study setting or clusters and households. The sampling frame was based on the population and housing census conducted in Ethiopia in 2007. A total of 10,260 households were selected from the 513 enumeration areas. Data were collected using WHO STEPS questionnaire. For this report, Heavy Episodic Drinking was taken as a dependent variable. Descriptive statistics including frequency table, mean, median, interquartile range and standard deviations were computed. Logistic regression was used to analyze the predictors of Heavy Episodic Drinking.
Results: A total of 9,800 participants were interviewed in the study. The majority59.4% of the study subjects were female, 40.4% were aged 15-29 years. The overall prevalence of lifetime alcohol consumption was 49.3%, and 40.7% of the study participants reported consumption of alcohol in the past 30 days, defined as current drinkers. Heavy episodic drinking was reported by 12.4% of the participants (20.5% males and 2.7% females). In multivariate logistic regression, factors independently associated with heavy episodic drinking, after adjusting for other characteristics, were male sex, rural residence, married, and current tobacco smoking.
Conclusion: More than one in five males reported heavy episodic drinking which will predispose them to non-communicable diseases and other risks. Concurrent tobacco smoking is also a major concern. The findings will be helpful to initiate effective public health interventions to reduce heavy episodic drinking and consequently reduce the risks associated with it. It will also serve as a baseline to conduct further studies on this issue in Ethiopia. [Ethiop.J. Health Dev. 2017;31(Special Issue):312-319]
Key words: Alcohol, Heavy Episodic Drinking, NCD, Ethiopia, WHO STEPS

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Getachew, T., Defar, A., Teklie, H., Gonfa, G., Bekele, A., Bekele, A., Gelibo, T., Amenu, K., Taddele, T., Taye, G., Getinet, M., Challa, F., Mudie, K., Guta, M., Feleke, Y., Shiferaw, F., Tadesse, Y., Yadeta, D., G/Michael, M., Girma, Y., Kebede, T., & Teferra, S. (2018). Magnitude and predictors of excessive alcohol use in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development (EJHD), 31(1). Retrieved from
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