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EFFECT OF CH'AT AND ASSOCIATED FACTORS ON NUTRITIONAL STATUS AMONG CH'AT CHEWERS AT GULELLE SUB-CITY, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0301-15]
Though the community is chewing ch'at for multiple reasons, it has a huge public health impact on mental, physical and social well-being. A community-based comparative cross-sectional study was conducted from March to June, 2015. Cluster sampling and systematic random sampling techniques were used for ch'at chewers and non-ch'at chewers respectively. The data was collected by using an interview administered questionnaire, an in-depth interview-based questionnaire and weight-scale measurement. The study revealed a total of 55(21.48%) underweight and 41(16.00%) overweight ch'at chewers, but only 31(12.5%) underweight and 45(18.10%) overweight non-ch'at chewers. Ch'at chewers were 1.994 times more likely to be underweight. Ch'at chewers who had animal and animal products daily as their main meal were 0.218 times less likely to be underweight; while 5.15 times more likely to be overweight. Ch'at chewers who drank 8 glasses of water per khat chewing session were 0.180 times less likely to be underweight and 0.234 times less likely to be overweight. Ch'at chewers who did not use chabsy were 2.530 times more likely to be underweight. The odds of being underweight of those who chewed ch'at for the length of less than 3 years was 1.3% times less likely. Being underweight and overweight are public nutritional status problems of both ch'at chewers and non-ch'at chewers in which ch'at users are mostly affected by being underweight. Ch'at chewing patterns and meal patterns, including the amount of fluid consumed per chewing session and chabsy are factors that affect the nutritional status of ch'at chewers. Shortening the length of ch'at chewing years, increasing the amount of fluid intake to more than 8 glasses per session, taking a minimal amount of chabsy, and dietary management with nutritionist advice should be actions taken to mitigate the nutritional status problems of ch'at chewers.