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Original Research Articles

Prevalence of Betel Chewing Among Males in Colombo and Polonnaruwa Districts

Authors:

VA de Silva ,

Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, LK
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DRC Hanwella,

Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, LK
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N Gunawardena

Senior Lecturer, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, LK
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Abstract

Objectives
To assess the prevalence of betel chewing among adult males in a rural and urban district in Sri Lanka and describe the demographic characteristics of betel chewers.

Methods
Betel use among 2684 males aged >18 years resident in a rural (Polonnaruwa) and urban (Colombo) district in Sri Lanka was assessed using multistage cluster sampling. Data on quantity and frequency of use was obtained using an interviewer administered questionnaire.

Results
Prevalence of betel chewing was 17.6% in the rural and 1.7% in the urban district. In the rural district prevalence was significantly associated with age (p<0.001). In both districts prevalence was lowest among males between 18-24 years of age (2.7%) and highest among those aged> 65 years (36%). In both districts prevalence was significantly associated with income (p<0.05). Prevalence was highest among those with a monthly income <Rs.5000. In rural areas 23.8% of those with an income <Rs. 5000/month chewed betel while only 4.7% of those earning >Rs. 25000 a month chewed betel.

Conclusions
There was a significant difference in prevalence of betel chewing between rural and urban areas. Betel chewing now remains mainly a habit of the elderly in rural areas.

Key words: Betel chewing; Sri Lanka; oral cancer

DOI: 10.4038/jccpsl.v14i1.2944

Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka Vol.14(1) 2009 20-23

How to Cite: de Silva, V., Hanwella, D. & Gunawardena, N., (2011). Prevalence of Betel Chewing Among Males in Colombo and Polonnaruwa Districts. Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka. 14(1), pp.20–23. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jccpsl.v14i1.2944
Published on 08 Apr 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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