Alcohol Use, Risk Taking, Leisure Activities and Health Care Use Among Young People in Northern Vietnam

Le Thi Kim Thoa, Dang H. Hoang, Nguyen Dang Vung, Pham H. Tien, M. A. Plant


Alcohol consumption is associated with a wide range of health and social consequences. It is also associated with a number of risk taking behaviours. These include illicit drug use and unsafe sex.  Alcohol consumption appears to be increasing in Vietnam. The purpose of this paper is to examine the patterns of alcohol consumption and its relationship with a number of other risk taking behaviours amongst young people.  Information was also obtained concerning leisure activities and use of health care. The paper also sets out to examine possible gender differences in relation to alcohol consumption and risk behaviour and to propose the development and implementation of alcohol monitoring and prevention programs in Vietnam.  The study involved a cross-sectional, community survey using a standardised interview.  This was conducted during face-to-face interviews with 1,408 young people aged 10-19 years.  Respondents were recruited randomly through the lists of the households from 12 selected communes in three areas in Northern Vietnam. The findings presented here were part of a larger health risk behaviour survey.  Levels of alcohol use were low. Overall, 16.5% of participants were experienced drinkers, and only 4% of them were current drinkers. Males were significantly more likely than females to report drinking. This study also showed that rates of alcohol consumption were associated with age, education, geographical area, gender, tobacco smoking, involvement in violence, watching television, computer use and playing computer games, wearing safety helmets and use of health services. Alcohol consumption tended to increase with age for both males and females.  Alcohol and its effects on young people are clearly a growing public health issue in Vietnam.  Because of this, more detailed behavioral research should be conducted into the relationship between alcohol consumption and other risky behaviours amongst young people.  It is also recommended that alcohol harm reduction policies should be implemented and integrated into measures to reduce levels of other health problems such as HIV/AIDS and non communicable diseases. Such policies should ideally be evidence-based and evaluated.

Full Text:



Ma S, Cutter J, Tan CE, Chew SK, Tai ES. Associations of diabetes mellitus and ethnicity with mortality in a multiethnic Asian population: Data from the 1992 Singapore National Health Survey. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2003; 158:543-55.

Nakanishi N, Suzuki K, Tatara K. Alcohol consumption and risk for development of impaired fasting glucose or type 2 diabetes in middle-aged Japanese men. Diabetes Care. 2003; 26: 48-54.

Rehm J, Room R, Graham K, Monteiro M, Gmel G, Sempos CT. Relationship of average volume of alcohol consumption and patterns of drinking to burden of disease: An overview. Addiction. 2003; 98:1209-1228.

Wannamethee SG, Camargo Jr CA, Manson JE, Willett WC, Rimm EB. Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus among younger women. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2003; 163: 1329-1336.

World Health Organization. Global Status Report on Alcohol. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2004.

Plant ML, Plant MA. Addiction: Major Themes in Health and Social Welfare. London: Routledge; 2007. (Volume II)

British Medical Association. Tackling Alcohol Misuse in the UK. London: British Medical Association; 2008.

Plant MA, Plant ML. Risktakers: Alcohol, Drugs, Sex and Youth. London: Tavistock; 1992.

Stall R, Leigh B. Understanding the relationship between drug or alcohol use and high risk sexual activity for HIV transmission: Where do we go from here? Addiction. 1994; 89(2): 131-134.

Cavan S. Liquor License: an Ethnography of Bar Behavior. Chicago: Aldine; 1966.

Green J, Plant MA. (2007) Bad Bars: A review of risk factors. Journal of Substance Use. 2007; 12(3): 157-189.

Nam Vinh N, Viet Tinh D. (2001) Alcohol consumption in Vietnam. The Globe. 3&4.

Goodburn EA, Ross DA. Young people’s health in developing countries: a neglected problem and opportunity,” Health Policy and Planning. 2000; 15(2): 137-144.

Jessor R, Jessor SL. Problem Behavior and Psychosocial Development: A Longitudinal Study of Youth. New York: Academic Press; 1977.

Hingson RW, Kenkel D. (2004) Social, health and economic consequences of underage drinking. In: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Reducing Underage Drinking: a Collective Responsibility, background papers, Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.

Coleman LM, Cater SM. (2005) A qualitative study of the relationship between alcohol consumption and risky sex on young people. Archives of Sexual Behaviour. 2005; 34(6):649-61.

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2002) Fact Sheet: Substance Use and Sexual Health Among Teens and Young Adults in the US. Washington, DC: The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation. Available from: http://www.kff.Org//content/2002/3213/CAS AFact-Sheet.pdf.

Piombo M, Piles M. (1996) The relationship between college females' drinking and their sexual behaviors. Wom¬en's Health Issues. 1996; 6: 221-228.

Desapriya EB, Iwase N, Shimizu S. Adolescents alcohol related traffic accidents and mortality in 1999-2000--problem and solutions [Japanese, abstract]. Nihon Arukoru Yakubutsu Igakkai Zasshi. 2002 Jun;37(3):168-78.

Han S, Choe MK, Lee MS, Lee SH. Risk taking Behavior among High School Students in South Korea. Journal of Adolescence. 2001; 24(4): 571-574.

Li X, Fang X, Stanton B, Feigelman S, Dong Q. (1996) The rate and pattern of alcohol consumption among Chinese adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. 1996; 19: 353-361.

Assanangkornchai S, Geater AF, Saunders JB, McNeil DR. (2002). Effects of paternal drinking, conduct disorder and childhood home environment on the development of alcohol use disorders in a Thai population. Addiction. 2002; 97(2): 217-226.

World Health Organization. Core Health Indicators. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2007.

Berg-Kelly K. Adolescent health, school health activities, community contexts, and health surveys in Sweden. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2003; 33: 226-30.

Hibell B, Andersson B, Bjarnasson T, Ahlström S, Balakireva O, Kokkevi A, Morgan M. The 2003 ESPAD Report: Alcohol and other drug Use among Students in 30 European Countries. Stockholm: Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and other Drugs; 2004.

Johnston L, O’Malley PM, Bachman JG, Schulenberg JE. Monitoring the Future: National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2003, Volume II, College Students and Young Adults. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse; 2004.

Plant MA, Plant ML. Binge Britain: Alcohol and the National Response. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2006.

World Health Organization. Country Profiles – Vietnam. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2004.

Giangi KB, Spak F, Dzungi TV, Allebeck P. The use of AUDIT to assess level of alcohol problems in rural Vietnam. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2005; 40(6):578-583.

Son BT, Bain DL, Colby DJ, Thinh T, Giang LT, Mandel JS. Vietnam needs a strategy to address risky sexual behavior following alcohol consumption. International Conference on AIDS. 2004 July 11-16; 15: abstract no. D11253.

Baumberg B. The global economic burden of alcohol: a review and some suggestions. Drug and Alcohol Review. 2006; 25(6): 537-551.

Kaljee L, Genberg B, Minh TT, Tho LH, Thoa LTK, Stanton B. Alcohol use and HIV risk behaviors among rural young people in Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam,” Health Education Research. 2004. Retrieved 2004 Jun 15 from

Yeh EK, Hwu HG. (1992) Alcoholism in Taiwan Chinese communities. In: Helzer JE, Canino GJ, eds. Alcohol¬ism in North America, Europe and Asia. New York: Oxford University Press; 1992: 214-246.

Lee CK. Alcoholism in Korea. In: Helzer JE, Canino G, eds. Alcoholism in North America, Europe and Asia. New York: Oxford University Press; 1992: 247-263.

Grube JW. Preventing sales of alcohol to minors: results from a community trial. Addiction. 1997; 92: S251-S260.

Califano JA. Focus on Adolescent Services: Alcohol and Teen Drinking. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University; 2007.

Pitkänen T, Lyyra A-L, Pulkkinen L. Age of onset of drinking and the use of alcohol in adulthood: A follow-up study from age 8-42 for males and females. Addiction. 2005; 100: 652-661.

Snyder LB, Milici FF, Slater M, Sun H, Strizhakova Y. Effects of alcohol advertising exposure on drinking among youth. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 2006; 160:18-24.

Ehrhardt A, Exner T. (2000) Prevention of sexual risk behavior for HIV infection with women. AIDS. 2000; 14(suppl2): S54-S58.

Bowd A, Loos C. Gender difference in adoption of AIDS preventive behaviors: Implications for women’s AIDS education programs. Women’s Health Issues. 1995; 5(1): 21.

Herdt G, Boxer A. Ethnographic issues in the study of AIDS. Journal of Sex Research. 1991; 28(2): 171.

Vantamay S. Alcohol consumption among university students: applying a social ecological approach for multi-level preventions. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2009 Mar; 40(2): 354-69.

Sivaram S, Latkin CA, Solomon S, Celentano DD. (2006). HIV Prevention in India: Focus on Men, Alcohol Use and Social Networks. Harvard Health Policy Review. 2006; 7(2): 125-134.



  • There are currently no refbacks.