Background: The growing globalization have contributed the increase of burden of Non communicable diseases exponentially as it accounts 80% of the world mortality. This concerns the global community urging measures to quantify major risk factors of non-communicable diseases.
Objective: To narrate and summarize the result of last three consecutive STEPS survey
Methods: The Steps survey country report of 2007,2013 and 2019 was accessed which is freely available in www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/steps/nepal/en/ . Essential data were sorted, categorized, analyzed and tabulated as per needed.
Alcohol has been widely used in Nepal in all forms such as Beer, Rum, Whiskey, Vodka. The forms of alcohol are commercially available and also locally produced by fermentation of millet, grains etc. Scientifically, alcohol has been linked to causation of various NCD’s such as cancer, cirrhosis, stroke and hypertension WHO estimates, alcohol accounts for causation 10% non-communicable diseases globally .Similarly, the STEPS survey gathers information on various behavioral aspects related to alcohol intake. Raksi (locally brewed alcohol) was the most preferred alcohol followed by Jaad.
Figure 1: Pattern of Alcohol consumption Link to clear image
The alcohol abstainers (forbidding the use of alcohol) seems to be increasing as the percentage of life time alcohol abstainers increase from 62.7% to 72.2%. Though slight decrement is seen in STEPs 2019, however overall progress shows positive sign. Similarly, the overall percentage of regular consumer seems to be decreased from 28.5 to 20.8. A slight increase has been seen in alcohol consumption over period of 6 years(STEP 2013-STEP 2019.)Addition to this, percentage of heavy episodic drinker has drastically reduced from 33.3% to 6.8% over the period of 12 years (STEPs 2007-STEPs 2019).This indicates positive point since heavy episodic drinking habit as associated with harmful use of alcohol.
Tobacco is being used in Nepal in both smoke and smokeless form. Tobacco use is also preceding risk factor associated with causation of various non communicable diseases. Tobacco use accounts 8 million deaths worldwide in which more than 7 million is due to active smoking and 1.2 million are result to second-hand smoking. Tobacco use is found in two forms that are smoke (cigarettes, bidis, cigars, pipes, hukkas) and smokeless (chewing tobacco, khaini, nasal snuffs)
Figure 2: Pattern of Tobacco Use
A huge decrement has been observed in the period of 12 years (STEP2007-STEP2109) in the percentage of the daily smokers. This has shown good factor for the control of tobacco use since tobacco use is emerging risk factor for NCD causation such as Cancer, COPD etc.Also, there has been the reduction in the mean number of cigarettes smoked daily. Also, the figure illustrates that average age of initiation is decreasing. This is a serious issue since STEP 2019 has indicated people start smoking at the age of 17.8 years. Wide availability, peer pressure, false marketing and weak law enforcement may be responsible for this issue.
Hey there, I am Nirdesh Baral, founder of Nepal Health Magazine. I am a Tech geek by passion , Public health practitioner by profession and an Ailurophile by heart.