Concurrent multiple health risk behavior among adolescents in the Luangnamtha Province, Lao PDR
Presented by Vanphanom Sychareun (Lao People's Democratic Republic).
University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Postgraduate Studies & Research, Vientiane Capital, Lao People's Democratic Republic
Background: Adolescents often experience multiple health risk behaviors (HRBs) which pose a threat to their health, including HIV/AIDS. Health risk behaviors such as alcohol use, smoking, substance use and sexual risk behaviors among youth have been shown to co-occur with each others.
Methods: A cross sectional design was used to examine health risk behaviors of adolescents between the age 14 and 19 living in the Luangnamtha province, Lao PDR. The study was conducted between June to August, 2008. A logistic regression analysis was performed.
Results: A total of 1360 respondents, 661 (48.6%) males with the mean age 16.7 ±1.6 and 699 (51.4%) females aged 16.17 ±1.54 were interviewed. The majority had not more than two kinds of risky behavior, however, multiple risk behavior increased with age for both sexes. About 46.8% (n=636) reported no risk, 35.6% (n=484) had one risk factor, 11.8% (n=160) had two risk factors, 4.2% (n=57) had three risk factors, 1.3% (n=18) had four risk factors and 0.4% (n=5) had five risks.
In the multivariate analysis, older adolescents (OR=2.20, 95% CI-1.33-3.60), attending school (OR=.53, CI-.33-.86), Akha ethnicity (OR=2.20, 95% CI-1.04-4.61) Hmong and Yao ethnicity (OR=.48, CI-.26-.90), peer's smoking (OR=3.11, 95% CI-2.1-4.6), and drinking alcohol (OR=1.88, 95% CI-1.1-3.21) were significantly associated with multiple risk behaviors among boys. Having a higher education (OR=0.17, 95% CI-0.06-0.45), and being of Hmong and Yao ethnicity (OR=0.38, 95% CI-0.18-0.80) were factors that protected girls from multiple risk behaviors; while peer's drinking alcohol (OR=2.55, 95% CI-1.59-4.09) and peer's being sexually active (OR=2.82, 95% CI-1.65-4.8) were associated with multiple risk behaviors.
Conclusions: There is a need to establish peer friendships and follow peers with good behavior. Risk reductions messages need to take account of diverse multiple HRBs within the specific socio-cultural and gender specific context and targeted to vulnerable adolescents such as ethnic and less educated adolescents.
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