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Kava use on the up

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, October 20, 2014

THERE has been an increase in the number of Fijian kava drinkers since 1993, according to the 2004 National Nutrition Survey.

The survey, which is conducted every 10 years by the Health Ministry's National Food and Nutrition Centre, was launched in Suva on Friday.

According to its findings, 63.9 per cent of males and 31.2 per cent females were reported drinking kava in 2004 compared with 55.7 per cent males and 15.7 per cent females in 1993.

The report said more males (63.9 per cent) consumed kava than females (31.2 per cent) with iTaukei people drinking it more than Fijians of Indian descent.

Only 11.2 per cent drank kava daily, while 69.1 per cent drank kava in two to six days in a week.

More adult males (18-44 years) drank kava daily (15.8 per cent) compared with (1.9 per cent) females.

It was also reported that 89.9 per cent of adolescents reported drinking kava in up to two days a week.

The national survey also stated that a quarter of Fiji's population smoked cigarettes.

Of this, 29.3 per cent were iTaukei and 17.5 per cent were Fijians of Indian descent while more males (37.7 per cent) did so than females (12.9 per cent).

The report stated that about five per cent of the 12-17 years surveyed smoked and of those who smoked, 50 per cent smoked up to four cigarettes a day.

About 23 per cent of Fijians of Indian descent smoked five to nine cigarettes a day compared with 20.9 per cent of iTaukei people.

A higher proportion of Fijians of Indian descent (34.8 per cent) than the iTaukei (29.4 per cent) smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day.

It said there was an overall increase of 1.4 per cent in the number of smokers since 1993 and also an increase in the number of adolescent smokers (12-17 years).

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