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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Prevalence and Pattern of Alcohol Consumption in Rural Goa

Author(s): N. Y. Dhupdale1, D.D. Motghare1, A.M.A. Ferreira1, Y.D. Prasad2

Vol. 31, No. 2 (2006-04 - 2006-06)


World Health Organization in the year 1983 declared Alcohol related problems as major health problems and are responsible for 3.5% of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost globally1. Alcohol affects all aspects of human life and causes hazards to health and welfare. Heavy alcohol reduces life expectancy by 10-12 years besides affecting productivity in developed and developing nations2. Goa, influenced by colonial Portuguese rule for over 450 years accepted alcohol as social beverage and the repercussions of which are obvious today. The present study was undertaken with the aim to study the prevalence and pattern of alcohol consumption essentially to develop effective and comprehensive preventive strategies.

Material and Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample comprising of 410 individuals (5.9% of total, study population) in the age group of 19 years and above. The sample size was estimated by using formula n = 4pq/L2, where p=49.5% (based on the pilot study). The 201 households were selected by systematic random sampling of the total 1207. The data was collected from the village Mandur, a rural field practice area of the Goa Medical College by use of Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), a WHO questionnaire3. The data was analyzed by using chi-square test of significance and Odds ratio (Cornfield method) by using Epi. Info 6.


Both country liquor and India-Made Foreign Liquor (IMEL) are manufactured in Goa to the tune of 19 lakh liters and 376 lakh liters per annum respectively and is retailed out at 6938 outlets4. The prevalence of alcohol consumption in the study population was 49% . 10.2% of them were heavy drinkers, 29.3% light drinkers and 9.5% were Ex-consumers. The remaining population (51%) had never consumed alcoholic beverages.

Age and Alcohol consumption is shown in Table-I. It was observed that the light-drinking pattern reduces with the advancing age while heavy drinking increased with age and showed a peak near age 40. The difference was statistically significant. Drinking habit invariably progressed for worse over a period of time. Similar findings are documented by another author5. The proportion of alcohol consumption in males was nearly 4 times higher (72%) as compared to females (17.8%).

Table I: Age and alcohol consumption pattern

Non Consumers Ex Consumers Light drinkers Heavy drinkers Total
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
19-24 19 42.2 2 4.5 23 51.1 1 2.2 45 11.0
25-34 51 49.0 6 5.8 38 36.5 9 8.7 104 25.4
35-44 43 50.0 10 11.6 19 22.1 14 16.3 86 21.0
45-54 25 41.7 7 11.7 20 33.3 8 13.3 60 14.6
55-64 19 50.0 5 13.2 8 21.0 6 15.8 38 9.3
65+ 52 67.5 9 11.7 12 15.6 4 5.2 77 18.7
Total 209 50.98 39 9.51 120 29.27 42 10.24 410 100.0
χ2=36.92 df=15,P=0.0013,H.S.

The difference was statistically significant. The association between alcohol consumption in fathers and study subjects is shown in Table-II. It was observed that the subjects who have or had alcoholic father are almost 2.9 times more likely to develop similar habit than others (OR=2.89). The difference was statistically significant. Similar findings were reported in another study of drinking habit of parents of alcoholics 6.

Table-II: Association between alcohol consumption in fathers and study subjects.

Alcoholic father Alcohol Consumption in subjects Total
Present % Absent % No %
Present 113 69.8 110 44.4 223 54.4
Absent 49 30.2 138 55.6 187 45.6
Total 162 100.0 248 100.0 410 100.0
χ2=25.48 df=1, p<0.001, H.S.; OR=2.89 (95% CI=1.86-4.50)

Substance abuse is known to co-exist in individuals. The association between tobacco use and alcohol consumption in the study subjects is shown in Table-III. It is seen that a alcohol consuming subjects are 1.9 times more likely to use tobacco than non-consumer (OR=1.89). The difference was statistically significant. The AUDIT questionnaire categorizes the heavy drinkers into hazardous (76.2%) harmful (14.3%) and alcohol dependents (9.5%).

The prevalence of alcohol consumption in the adult population is 49%. The proportion of heavy drinking increased with age and peaked at about 40 years. The AUDIT-questionnaire identified problem- drinkers and further categorized into hazardous, harmful and dependent. Most of the heavy drinkers were hazardous consumers.

Males are four times more likely to pick-up drinking habit than females. A higher proportion of drinking was noted among children of alcoholic father. Being role models, parent's drinking status greatly influences children's attitude towards such vices. A high proportion of light drinkers among younger age groups suggest need for more intensive preventive strategy towards the youth. A non-drinking family environment has a strong negative influence towards alcohol. The other vices' including tobacco use was significantly higher among drinkers than others.

Table - III: Association between tobacco use and alcohol consumption

Tobacco use Total
Present % Absent % No %
Present 70 34.8 131 65.2 201 49.0
Absent 46 22.0 163 78.0 209 51.0
Total 116 28.3 294 71.7 410 100.0
χ2=8.296 df=1, P=0.0039, H.S.; OR = 1.89 (95% CI=1.2-3.0)


  1. Murray CJL, Lopez AD. Quantifying the burden of disease and injury attributable to ten major risk factors. In: CJL Murray and AD Lopez (Eds). The Global burden of Disease: a comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from disease, Injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020 Cambridge, M.A. Harward School of Public Health, 1996.p 295-314.
  2. Grant M. Establishing priorities for action; In: Alcohol Policies WHO Reg. Publication, European Series No.18, 1985. Page:6.
  3. Babor TF, Fuente JR, Saunders J, Grant M. AUDIT. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Guidelines for use in Primary health care. World Health Organization (1992).
  4. Govt. of Goa. Statistical handbook of Goa. Panaji-Goa, Publication Division, Directorate of Planning, Statistics and Evaluation, (2000).
  5. York, JL. Progression of alcohol consumption across the drinking career in alcoholics and social drinkers. J. Stud. Alcohol, 1995; 56:328-365.
  6. Vaz-Serra, Canavarro MC, Ramalheira C. The importance of family context in alcoholism, Alcohol and Alcohol 1998; 33:37-41

1. Deptt. of Preventive and Social Medicine Goa Medical College.
2. Health Information Bureau, Directorate of Health Services,
Campal, Panaji Goa 403 001.
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: 23.07.2004

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