Areca Nut Consumption Patterns Among Primary School Children of Karachi

Ambrina Qureshi, Narendar Dawani, Amir Akbar Shaikh
2013 Journal of the Dow University of Health Sciences  
Areca nut is consumed extensively throughout the world with significant public health and oral implications. This study aimed at determining the prevalence and pattern of areca nut consumption in primary school children of Karachi city. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey was conducted amongst schoolchildren (age = 6 to 12 years) of Karachi city employing two-stage sampling technique. Information regarding participants' demographics and areca nutchewing pattern were collected and recorded by
more » ... ed and recorded by a single trained examiner. SPSS 17 was used for descriptiveand univariate logistic regression analysis. Results: Results showed that out of the total [N= 600; male (52%), female (48%)] areca nut chewing was found more prevalent in males (64.6%) throughout the range of 6-12 years. Almost half of these children adapted thishabit under peer influence (47%). Negative media influence [p-value <0.001, OR=28.981, CI=14.543-57.750]was identified as the most influencing factor for these children in taking up the habit of areca nut chewing. Otherfactors identified were low maternal education [p-value <0.001, OR=3.920, CI=1.731-8.875], poor awarenessof the children [p-value <0.001, OR=2.414, CI=1.620-3.598], no restriction in school premises [p-value <0.006,OR=2.012, CI=1.224-3.310] and the sweet pleasant taste of areca nut [p-value <0.006, OR=1.97, CI=0.062-0.629]. Conclusion: Majority of primary school children are in the habit of regular use of areca nut which is known to have public health implications. Health policies targeted towards an increase in public awareness particularlyfor the high-risk groups such as the school children through educational means is urgently needed for controlof this risky practice early in life.
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