South African Family Practice

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Adult binge drinking: rate, frequency and intensity in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa

Eyitayo Omolara Owolabi, Daniel Ter Goon, Oladele Vincent Adeniyi, Eunice Seekoe


Background: Binge drinking (BD) is a significant risk factor for several acute and chronic illnesses, including injuries. This study examines the rate, frequency and intensity of BD in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM), South Africa.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of 998 adults attending the three largest outpatient clinics in BCMM. Rate, frequency and intensity of BD were assessed using the WHO STEPwise questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistics were carried out to determine the rate and determinants of binge drinking.

Results: The overall rate of BD was 15.0%. Frequency and intensity of BD were 5.4 episodes per month and 13.4 drinks on one occasion, respectively. The study data showed that BD was commoner in males than females (24.0% vs. 10.8%). Smokers engage more in BD than non-smokers (44.0% vs. 9.9%). In the analysis of socio-demographic variables, BD was commonest among students, age group 18–25 years, those never married and those on incomes between 2001 and 5000 Rand per month. In the multivariate logistic regression, after adjusting for confounders, only age less than 25 years (p < 0.001) and male gender (p < 0.001) were significant predictors of binge drinking. Also, male gender (p = 0.002) was significantly associated with frequency of BD. There was no significant gender variation in the intensity of BD. Only age and smoking were significantly associated with the intensity of BD.

Conclusion: The rate of binge drinking was high among the study participants, and those who binge drink tend to do so frequently and at a high intensity. Women who binge drink also do so at a high intensity. There is a need for sensitisation campaigns and health advocacy talks on the dangers associated with binge drinking among young adults in this setting.

Keywords: Binge drinking, Buffalo City, frequency, intensity, rate, South Africa
AJOL African Journals Online