DOH poll: 4 in 10 Filipino adults drink alcohol, 15% smoke tobacco products

DOH poll: 4 in 10 Filipino adults drink alcohol, 15% smoke tobacco products
Photo taken November 20, 2019 shows a vape shop owner takes a puff in Manila.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines (Updated August 18, 9:18 a.m.) — A mobile phone health survey conducted by the Department of Health showed that alcohol consumption of Filipinos remains high while 15.5% of adult Filipinos smoke tobacco products, showing continued exposure to factors linked to non-communicable diseases.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DOH said they found in a poll that “on alcohol use, consumption was high” with 40.1% of Filipinos reporting they drank alcohol 30 days prior to the survey.

“Alcohol use was higher in men compared to women, with 51.4% of men and 28.9% of women reporting current drinking use,” it said.

The health survey focused on five associated non-communicable diseases (NCD) risk factors, tobacco use, alcohol use, diet, diabetes and hypertension. It was conducted through mobile phone with 3,087 Filipinos randomly selected as respondents.

In an earlier release, the DOH said the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Regional Office noted that “a significant proportion of Filipino adults continue to be exposed to NCD risks of tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.”

“This makes millions of Filipinos vulnerable in developing NCDs in the future. In the Philippines, NCDs are the country's top causes of deaths,” it said in an October 2020 release on the launch of its NCD mobile survey part 2.

In the same survey, the DOH said it found that 33.1% or one in three adult Filipinos reported drinking six or more on a single occasion. Men (43.2%) reported higher rates of heavy drinking occasions, compared to women (22.9%), it added.

On tobacco use, the health department said the poll revealed that 15.5% of Filipino adults are tobacco smokers. It said that 22.6 of men and 8.5% of women are smoking tobacco.

One in 10 adult men or 13.4% of men smoke tobacco products daily, compared to 4.4% in women. “Men also reported higher rates of smokeless tobacco use, 6.2% among men, compared to 1.6% among women,” it added.

Diet, diabetes and hypertension

In the same survey, the DOH said that nine out of ten or 90.1% said they consume less than the recommended five servings of fruits or vegetables daily, with less than 1% reporting that they consume fruits or vegetables daily.

Consumption of salty food, however, was high with 60.2% or three in five Filipinos saying they always or often add salt when cooking or preparing food.

“Two out of five (39.5%) adult Filipinos always or often added salt or salty sauces to their food before eating, and approximately one-third (31.4%) of adult Filipinos reported always or often eating processed foods high in salt,” the DOH said.

One out of ten Filipinos also reported having been diagnosed with raised blood sugar or diabetes (14.1% among men and 11.3% among women), it added.

“Of these, half (49.2%) were currently under diabetes medication. One-quarter of adult Filipinos (25.8%) reported ever being told that they were hypertensive by their doctor or health professional, and 54.5% were currently on medications to control their hypertension,” the DOH added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the results of the survey “will provide the DOH supplementary national data in addressing NCDs in the country even as we make health services more available and responsive to more people and move towards Universal Health Care.”  — Kristine Joy Patag with inforgraphics from Enrico Alonzo



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