South Africa has the highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in the world. While efforts have been made to curb the high rate of FAS, little is known about situational factors that may contribute to alcohol use during pregnancy. In the current paper, we focus on the role of food insecurity and its relationship to alcohol use among pregnant women. Women completed computer-assisted interviews. Generalized linear modeling was used in all analyses. Women attending alcohol-serving establishments in a township in Cape Town, South Africa were recruited for the study. Five hundred sixty women were sampled and 95 women reported being pregnant. High levels of alcohol use were reported among pregnant women: 65 % of women consumed alcohol at least every month and 29 % consumed alcohol as often as two to three times per week. Thirty-four percent of the women reported having six or more drinks per occasion on at least a weekly basis. The majority (87 %) of pregnant women reported experiencing some form of food insecurity (e.g., food unavailable, eating less) in the past month. Alcohol use was significantly associated with food insecurity, even when controlling for relevant demographic variables. Intervention with pregnant women who consume alcohol is urgently needed. Future research should focus on understanding the intersection of food insecurity and alcohol, and how the experience of food insecurity may contribute to greater rates of alcohol use and abuse among pregnant women.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 23, 2013
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