Prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption among Royal Thai Army personnel

Viravathana, N.

Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 92 Suppl. 1: S91-S96

2009


ISSN/ISBN: 0125-2208
PMID: 21302417
Document Number: 14246
To determine the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption among the army personnel. A cross-sectional study was carried out during the annual health examination between 2000 and 2001 in two army units located in the central region of Thailand. A total of 843 active duty army personnel participated in the present study. Data on demographic characteristics, smoking status and alcohol consumption were collected using a self-rating questionnaire. Drinking patterns during the past year were measured in the following aspects: frequency, quantity, binge drinking and beverage preference. Eight hundred and thirty-one (98.6%) studied personnel provided complete information and were included in the analysis. All were males with the mean age of 37.2 +/- 7.7 years. Five hundred and ninety-three (71.4%) study personnel were current drinkers. The majority of 57.5% drank at least five drinks per drinking day. With regard to the frequency of drinking, 10.7% reported that they drank as often as daily or nearly every day. Additionally, 22.7% had five drinks or more per drinking day at least weekly. Up to 28.2% had binge drinking or episodic heavy drinking practices. The most common type of alcoholic beverage for drinkers was mixed spirit and beer (30.7%). Only three (0.4%) personnel reported drinking wine. The results suggest that alcohol abuse becomes a significant problem among the army personnel. Most drinking patterns established among the army personnel are more likely to be harmful and unsafe to their health than beneficial effects. Thus, there is an urgent need to initiate appropriate action to prevent the harm from alcohol use and to protect the military performance and readiness.

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