Alcohol Consumption in Vietnam, and the Use of ‘Standard Drinks’ to Measure Alcohol Intake

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Abstract

Aims

To provide nationally representative data on alcohol consumption in Vietnam and to assess whether reported numbers of ‘standard drinks’ consumed have evidence of validity (particularly in rural areas where home-made alcohol is consumed from cups of varying size).

Methods

A nationally representative population-based survey of 14,706 participants (46.5% males, response proportion 64.1%) aged 25−64 years in Vietnam. Measurements were made in accordance with WHO STEPS protocols. Data were analysed using complex survey methods.

Results

Among men, 80% reported drinking alcohol during the last year, and 40% were hazardous/harmful drinkers. Approximately 60% of men and <5% of women had consumed alcohol during the last week, with one-in-four of the men reporting having consumed at least five standard drinks on at least one occasion. Numbers of standard drinks reported by men were associated with blood pressure/hypertension, particularly in rural areas (P < 0.001 for trend). Most of the calibration and discrimination possible from self-reported information on alcohol consumption was provided by binary responses to questions on whether or not alcohol had been consumed during the reference period.

Conclusion

Alcohol use and harmful consumption were common among Vietnamese men but less pronounced than in Western nations. Self-reports of quantity of alcohol consumed in terms of standard drinks had predictive validity for blood pressure and hypertension even in rural areas. However, using detailed measures of consumption resulted in only minor improvements in prediction compared to simple measures.

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