KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES, AND PRACTICES OF YOUTHS ON EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION IN BUEA
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Background: Despite the numerous effects of excess alcohol consumption, about 75% of youths (15-25) years globally still consume alcohol in excessive amounts (National Health Research Council, 2009).
However, it‘s also known that alcohol consumption, especially in excess is linked to a number of negative outcomes: as a risk for diseases and health impacts; crime, road incidents and for some; alcohol dependence (National Health Research Council, 2009). Method: A quantitative cross sectional research design was used to assess knowledge, attitude and practices of youths in the Molyko community Buea.
A convenient sampling method was used to recruit 100 participants for the study and a questionnaire was used to collect data from participants. Result: The study was made up of 62 (62%) male and 38 (38%) female youths. Majority 45 (45%) of the participants were aged between 18-24 years old.
The overall proportion of youths with adequate knowledge on excessive alcohol consumption in the Molyko community was 72.2%, the overall proportion of youths with positive attitude on excessive alcohol consumption in the Molyko community was 44.8%, the most cited reason for drinking alcohol among youths of the Molyko community were ―coping with stressor (32%), help in food digestion (31%), unaware of the dangers (10%).
Conclusion: A greater proportion of youths of the Molyko community had a good knowledge of the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, majority of the sample population had poor attitude towards excessive alcohol consumption, while a small proportion showed good attitude towards excess consumption of alcohol, youths of the Molyko community had poor practices towards excess alcohol consumption.
Alcohol has historically and continues to, hold an important role in social engagement and bonding for many. Social drinking or moderate alcohol consumption for many is pleasurable and perceived to reduce stress and anxiety (Bower, 2007).
Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with multiple adverse health and social consequences, including liver cirrhosis, certain cancers, unintentional injuries, violence, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Excessive alcohol consumption also causes premature death, increased healthcare costs, property damage from fire and motor crashes, increased crime and criminal justice system costs, and lost worker productivity in the form of missed work, diminished output, and reduced earning potential (Navarro et al., 2011)
Furthermore, it has been known since biblical times that excess alcohol consumption is detrimental to one‘s health and even considered a sin. Moreover, subsequent research has shown that many youths exposed to excessive alcohol consumption end up with life threatening diseases and more (Jones et al., 1973). However, it‘s also known that alcohol consumption, especially in excess is linked to a number of negative outcomes: as a risk for diseases and health impacts; crime, road incidents and for some; alcohol dependence (National Health Research Council, 2009)
Furthermore, alcohol use amongst youths is a major public health problem and the focus of widespread media attention. Despite being clearly established as a teratogen since the 19th century, alcohol is used by approximately 75% of youths aged between 15 to 25years, with rates as high as 20% reported in recent decades. Historically, estimates of prevalence have relied on self-report, as through the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health in the UK. Extensive data suggest that downstream dysfunction is seen over decades rather than solely as a manifestation of developmental abnormalities in the youth.
According to the UK Health Survey (2011), 52% of youths aged between 16 to 28 years who drink; exceed the daily limit of 4-5 units per day and 25% more than twice the recommendations (UK Health Survey, 2011). Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 79,000 and 2.3 million years of potential life lost in the U.S each year (Chavez et al., 2011), making it the third-leading preventable cause of death in this country.
Excessive alcohol consumption causes about one in ten deaths among working age adults in the US annually and caused the US an estimated 223.5billion dollars in 2006 (Campbell et al, 2009). Excessive alcohol consumption is most widely widespread among adults (Raph et al 2012)
In many low-income countries, alcohol consumption and heavy drinking occasions appear to have significantly increased in recent years, due partly to the increased availability of commercial alcohol and introduction of high alcohol content beverages (Marshal et al., 2000).
Also, Africa is a vast continent with a tremendous diversity of cultures and traditions. Alcohol consumption has a long history in Africa, with the traditional drinking pattern being largely ceremonial/event based and most common drink being home-made, fermented beverage (Willis, 2002). In most sub-Saharan Africa countries, alcohol has typically not been a commodity for sale, but instead a beverage brewed by women and drunk mainly by older men (Maula et al., 1998). These traditions and behaviors have been supplemented more recently by consumption of mass-produced alcoholic beverages and a broader range of context and modes of drinking (Saxena, 1997). Thus, changes in alcohol production, marketing and consumption are among the various transitions facing many African countries, along with an increasing tendency to turn to commercial alcohol beverages, especially among younger drinkers (Molamu et al., 1998).
1.2. Problem Statement
Despite the numerous effects of excess alcohol consumption, about 75% of youths (15-25) years globally still consume alcohol in excessive amounts (National Health Research Council, 2009). However, it‘s also known that alcohol consumption, especially in excess is linked to a number of negative outcomes: as a risk for diseases and health impacts; crime, road incidents and for some; alcohol dependence (National Health Research Council, 2009). However alcohol has also been found to affect female youths of childbearing age and has been found to be accurately toxic to pregnant alcoholic youths. (Phillips et al.,1989).
The molyko community, Buea as any other community contains a large number of youths who consume alcohol in large quantities. Reason this study is being carried is due to numerous incidences and accidents the investigator has witnessed along the streets of molyko in particular which led the investigator to ask if actually youths in this vicinity of Buea do have any knowledge on the dangers of excess alcohol consumption, what attitudes do they have towards its consumption.
1.3. Research Questions
- What knowledge do youths (15-24 Years) in the Molyko community have concerning the effects of excess alcohol consumption?
- What are the attitudes of youths (15-24 Years) in the Molyko community towards excess alcohol consumption?
- What are the behavioral practices of youths (15-24 Years) in the Molyko community toward excessive alcohol consumption?