Alcohol consumption

National Family Health Survey – The New Indian Express

Express news service

BHUBANEWAR: Even though the number of male drinkers has declined in Odisha over the past five years, female alcohol consumption has almost doubled during the period. According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS), alcohol consumption among women over the age of 15 increased from 2.4% in 2015-16 to 4.3% in 2020-2021.

However, it fell to 28.8 percent from 39.3 percent during the period for men. Shattering the myth that city dwellers drink more alcohol, the NFHS-5 found that rural Odisha men and women aged 15 and over drink more alcohol than their urban counterparts.

The survey results indicated that 30.2 percent of rural men consume alcohol compared to 22.7 percent of urban men. Likewise, the number of men who drink in urban areas of the state increased from 32.2% to 22.7%. In the case of women, the rural and urban shares are 4.9 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Alarmingly, the alcohol consumption of rural women fell from 2.6% to 4.9% while it fell from 41.3% to 30.2% among men. However, there has been no significant change in alcohol consumption among urban women over the past five years, as it has only increased by 0.1 percent (from 1.3 percent to 1.4 percent).

Not only alcohol, tobacco consumption by women has also increased significantly compared to men. While only 17.3 percent of women used tobacco in 2015-16, at least 26 percent of women surveyed admitted to having used tobacco now.

Here too, rural women are ahead of their urban counterparts, as 26% of women in villages use tobacco compared to 16.6% in towns. The percentage of men who use tobacco increased from 55.9 percent to 51.6 percent. It went from 58.8% to 54.1% in rural areas and from 45.3% to 40.5% in urban areas.

Health experts said the finding of an upward trend in alcohol consumption among women and a downward trend among men in the state has various implications. A relatively lower proportion of the male population currently consuming alcohol compared to previous survey years could be the impact of targeted interventions on primary prevention of alcohol use disorders, they said.

Milita Odisha Nishanibarana Secretary General Abhiyan Mamata Mohapatra said alcohol consumption in rural areas is more due to tribal men and women consuming locally prepared alcohol (Handia) for ages. “Today it is aristocracy in the case of wealthy social women. Maybe their numbers are increasing because they are frustrated with their lives and suffering from depression. They need the support of their families, ”she added.