Health effects and association of demographic characteristics with Khat chewing for residents between 18 – 50 years in Moyale Sub-County, Kenya
Objectives: To determine the proportions, social demographic characteristics and association of health effects with khat chewing for residents between 18 – 50 years in Moyale Sub-County.
Design: A cross-sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Moyale Sub-County, Marsabit County.
Subjects: Four hundred and twenty two randomly selected persons aged between 18 – 50 years in Moyale Sub-County. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and associations were determined using inferential statistics. Main outcome measures: Health effects and association of demographics with khat chewing.
Results: The study found that the proportion of khat users in Moyale Sub-County was 81%. Majority of khat users were males (75%) compared to females (25%). Males spend more than 5 hours a day chewing khat. There was a strong association between the number of people who live in the household and chewing khat (p=0.046). The study found reasons for chewing khat as; peer pressure (73.2%),
stress (10.3%) and idleness (7.2%). The health effects associated with khat chewing were: difficulty in sleep (94%) decreased energy (77.5%) and reduced sexual desire.
Conclusion: Khat chewing affects a large proportion (81%) of the population with 75% being males and 25% females. Prolonged use of khat leads to adverse negative effects.