Sociodemographic and Socioeconomic Correlates of Alcohol Use among Older Adults in Ghana

Type Journal Article - Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
Title Sociodemographic and Socioeconomic Correlates of Alcohol Use among Older Adults in Ghana
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Background : The global older adult population is increasing, however the health and care of this segment
of the population has not been accorded optimal attention in Ghana and other low-income countries. This paper
describes socio-demographic and socioeconomic correlates of alcohol use as major health risk factors among older
adult Ghanaians.
Methods: This work was based on the World Health Organization’s multi-country Study on global Ageing and
adult health (SAGE), conducted in six countries including Ghana. Wave one of SAGE in Ghana was conducted
in 2007-2008 as collaboration among WHO, National Health Research Unit and the University of Ghana Medical
School through the Department of Community Health. A sample of 3109 older adults, ≥ 50 years were involved in this
analysis. Data was obtained on the patterns and intensity of alcohol use among older adults in Ghana.
Results: Heavy drinking (Excessive alcohol use) was more prevalent among the 50-59 year group (3.4%),
males (4.2%), rural residents (2.9%), the separated/divorced (4.0%), those with secondary education (or equivalent)
completed (8.4%) and higher incomes (3.8%). Regional differences existed in heavy drinking; was most prevalent
in the three northern regions, Upper West (97.1%); Upper East (70.1%) and Northern (62.5%). The two most
developed and populous regions (Greater Accra and Ashanti) had relatively lower prevalence of heavy drinking
(43.4% and 39.9% respectively). Significant socio-demographic correlates of alcohol use were male sex (OR=1.4,
CI=1.37-1.52), rural resident (OR=1.3, CI=1.08-1.44), higher education (OR=2.4, CI=1.65-3.61) and lower income
(OR=1.6, CI=1.44-1.70).
Conclusions: Risk reduction measures including improvement in access to health and social services,
implementing the national aging policy with due consideration to demographic, socio-economic, religion, culture and
regional disparities will engender health and social benefits to the older adult population in Ghana.

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