Correlates of alcohol consumption in rural western Kenya: A cross-sectional study
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Background: Studies on alcohol consumption in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa are scarce. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and determinants of alcohol consumption in rural western Kenya. The study was conducted as a preliminary stage of a community-based intervention to reduce hazardous alcohol consumption. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 478 participants aged 18–65 years residing in Ikolomani Sub-county, Kakamega County was conducted in April 2015. Data were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. We defined current drinkers as participants who consumed any alcoholic product in the preceding one month, and hazardous/high-risk drinkers as participants with an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score of 8 and above. We summarised data using descriptive statistics and used logistic regression to explore for the correlates of each of current alcohol consumption and hazardous/high-risk alcohol consumption. Results: The sex-standardized prevalence of current alcohol drinkers was 31.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 26.8%–37.2%). The prevalence was higher in men (54.6%) than in women (8.9%). The mean AUDIT score among current drinkers was 16.9 (SD 8.2) and the sex-standardized prevalence of hazardous/high-risk alcohol drinking was 28.7% (95% CI: 24.1%–34.0%). Traditional brews were the most commonly consumed types of alcohol and most drinkers took alcohol in the homes of alcohol sellers/brewers. In multivariate analyses, the number of drinkers in the family, the number of friends who are drinkers and the attitude towards alcohol intake were positively associated with current alcohol drinking status, and with hazardous/high-risk alcohol consumption. Women were less likely to be current drinkers and hazardous/high-risk drinkers than were men. Other socio-demographic factors were not significantly associated with alcohol consumption. Conclusions: The prevalence of alcohol consumption in the study area was higher than the national level estimate of 13.3%. The results suggest that the social environment is the main determinant of alcohol consumption in this setting. These findings imply that interventions to mitigate alcohol consumption in this area will have to target the social networks of the alcohol consumers, change the drinkers’ attitude towards alcohol, and tackle the issue of availability of unlicensed homemade brews.