Alcohol use among adults in Uganda: findings from the countrywide non-communicable diseases risk factor cross-sectional survey

Steven Ndugwa Kabwama, Sheila Ndyanabangi, Gerald Mutungi, Ronald Wesonga, Silver K. Bahendeka, David Guwatudde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There are limited data on levels of alcohol use in most sub-Saharan African countries. Objective: We analyzed data from Uganda's non-communicable diseases risk factor survey conducted in 2014, to identify alcohol use prevalence and associated factors. Design: The survey used the World Health Organization STEPS tool to collect data, including the history of alcohol use. Alcohol users were categorized into low-, medium-, and high-end users. Participants were also classified as having an alcohol-use-related disorder if, over the past 12 months, they were unable to stop drinking alcohol once they had started drinking, and/or failed to do what was normally expected of them because of drinking alcohol, and/or needed an alcoholic drink first in the morning to get going after a heavy drinking session the night before. Weighted logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with medium- to high-end alcohol use. Results: Of the 3,956 participants, 1,062 (26.8%) were current alcohol users, including 314 (7.9%) low-end, 246 (6.2%) medium-end, and 502 (12.7%) high-end users. A total of 386 (9.8%) were classified as having an alcohol-use-related disorder. Male participants were more likely to be medium- to high-end alcohol users compared to females; adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=2.34 [95% confidence interval (CI)=1.88–2.91]. Compared to residents in eastern Uganda, participants in central and western Uganda were more likely to be medium- to high-end users; AOR=1.47 (95% CI=1.01–2.12) and AOR=1.89 (95% CI=1.31–2.72), respectively. Participants aged 30–49 years and those aged 50–69 years were more likely to be medium- to high-end alcohol users, compared to those aged 18–29 years, AOR=1.49 (95% CI=1.16–1.91) and AOR=2.08 (95% CI=1.52–2.84), respectively. Conclusions: The level of alcohol use among adults in Uganda is high, and 9.8% of the adult population has an alcohol-use-related disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31302
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol use
  • non-communicable diseases
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • Uganda
  • WHO STEPS methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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