Nutritional status of alcoholics in Peri-urban areas of the greater Accra region of Ghana
Alcoholism is a common problem in developing countries. Epidemiological studies on the relationship among excessive alcohol consumption, malnutrition and anaemia are inconclusive. The present study examined the association between alcohol intake and nutritional status of alcoholics in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. The study was cross-sectional involving 107 participants (men and women) aged between 20 and 76 years. Participants were identified as alcoholics after screening with a combined, but modified CAGE and AUDIT questionnaires. Anthropometric data including weight, biceps skinfold thickness, triceps skinfold thickness, hip circumference and waist circumference were collected. Body mass index (BMI) and Waist-to-hip ratio were computed using appropriate measures. Haemoglobin levels of participants were also assessed. Dietary intakes of respondents were estimated by 24-hour recall which was further converted into nutrients and energy using ESHA food processor. A pretested questionnaire was also used to obtain data on socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics of participants. Differences between participants based on level of alcohol intake and correlations among variables were tested for statistical significance using ANOVA and correlation analyses, respectively. Logistic regression was performed to examine the relationship between levels of total ethanol intake and overweight and obesity factors while controlling for age, smoking status, physical activity and total energy intake. There was an inverse correlation between triceps skinfold and level of alcohol consumption irrespective of predominant type of alcoholic beverage consumed (r= -0.213, P= 0.028). Further, there was a positive correlation between alcohol consumption and hip circumference among predominant beer consumers (r= 0.585, P= 0.046). A strong positive correlation was observed between alcohol intake and haemoglobin concentration for women (r= 0.729, P= 0.040) but not among men (r= -0.053, P= 0.722). Predominant beer consumers tend to have higher weight and BMI. Moderate level of total ethanol intake was associated with greater odds of being overweight/obese, whereas high levels of intake was associated with lower odds of being overweight/obesity although these were not statistically significant. The mechanisms for the observation of higher weight, BMI and hip circumference among predominant beer consumers in this population need further exploration.
Key words: Alcoholics, alcoholic beverages, nutritional status
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