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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


CARAVEO-ANDUAGA, Jorge Javier; COLMENARES-BERMUDEZ, Eduardo  and  SALDIVAR-HERNANDEZ, Gabriela Josefina. Gender differences in alcohol consumption in Mexico City. Salud pública Méx [online]. 1999, vol.41, n.3, pp. 177-188. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE. The objectives of the present study were: 1) To corroborate the increase in alcohol consumption in the female population registered by results from the National Surveys on Addictions (ENA), 1988 and 1993; and 2) to determine affected age groups, and obtain basic information on age of onset, amount consumed per event and drunkenness frequency in the adult population of Mexico City, as indicators to orient preventive measures. MATERIAL AND METHODS. A multi-stage, stratified household survey was applied. A total of 1 932 interviews was completed, subjects were between 18 and 65 years of age, with a response rate of 60.4%. The instrument was a modified version of the Composite International Psychiatric Interview (CIDI), which is a highly structured instrument, applicable by non-specialized personnel, although limited training is necessary. The alcohol section included questions on the age of the first drink, the frequency and amount consumed during each event and the drunkenness frequency during the last 12 months, among other variables. Median and percentage were obtained by sex and among age-cohorts. RESULTS. Of the total, 96.5% of men and 81.1% of women have consumed at least one drink in their lives. In average, age of onset is 16 years for men, and 18 years for women. Age group comparisons show a clear tendency to begin drinking at an earlier age, particularly in women. The growing trend indicated by ENA with respect to alcohol consumption in the feminine population and at a younger age was corroborated. Results indicated that, in average, 5 years after the age of onset, both men and women reach their highest quantities of alcohol consumption, which tend to be excessive. Additionally, high-risk drinking among women (five or more drinks per event) increased to be four times higher in a period of seven years, and with an apparent tendency to rise. Sixty percent of the drinking population reduced alcohol consumption before the age of 30, however, the remaining 40% continued to drink at the same rate, or even increased consumption, particularly among women. CONCLUSIONS. The age of onset of alcohol consumption has diminished, especially in women, showing tendencies towards abuse. Preventive programs should predominantly focus on young age groups with emphasis on the feminine population.

Keywords : alcohol comsumption; sex; women; Mexico.

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