Determinants of areca-nut chewing among 15- to 18-year-old students in Taiwan
Objectives: This study aimed to conduct an epidemiological study of the prevalence of areca nut chewing in a sample of 15- to 18-year-old students in Taiwan. A special interest was to establish the relationship between physical exercise, physical fitness, risk taking behaviour, family structure, gender and areca nut chewing.
Methods: A random sample 5,386 of 15- to 18-year-old senior high school students in southern Taiwan was selected. Each completed a questionnaire.
Results: The prevalence of areca nut chewing was 3.2%. Those students that were male (p<0.001, OR=20.335, 95% CI: 9.355, 44.198), that lived with at least a non-birth parent (p=0.012, OR=1.866, 95% CI: 1.148, 3.031), that had a family head with a primary level of education (p=0.003, OR=2.558, 95% CI: 1.382, 4.735), that had a family head with a secondary level of education (p<0.001, OR=2.440, 95% CI: 1.568, 3.796), that showed a higher Adolescent Risk Taking Scale score (p<0.001, OR=1.363, 95% CI: 1.288, 1.443), that spent more weekly hours on physical exercise at school (p=0.022, OR=1.031, 95% CI: 1.004, 1.058), or that had a lower level of physical fitness (p=0.001, OR=3.376, 95% CI: 1.689, 6.749), were more likely to chew areca nuts.
Conclusions: This study has manifested that adolescents’ areca nut chewing was related to physical fitness, physical exercise, risk taking behaviour, family structure, socio-economic status and gender. In addition, the prevalence of areca nut chewing was low in 15- to 18-year-olds in Taiwan. Further investigation is indicated.