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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2011 Mar;72(2):333-40.

Epidemiology of alcohol use in rural men in two provinces of China.

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  • 1School of Public Health, Central South University, 110 Xiangya Road, Changsha, Hunan, China.



Alcohol use in China has substantially increased during the last three decades. The objectives of this study were to examine the sociodemographic patterning of alcohol consumption and to explore the relationship between (a) heavy drinking and frequent acute intoxication and (b) type of alcohol consumed.


A cross-sectional survey of 18- to 60-year-old men in Hunan and Henan Provinces in 2007 used multistage, randomized clustered sampling to identify 11,884 subjects; 9,866 (83.0%) of them were interviewed.


The weighted prevalence of 3-month drinking was 61.4% in Hunan and 68.2% in Henan. Among current drinkers, the median daily consumption of pure alcohol in Hunan and Henan were 16.5 ml and 17.9 ml, respectively; 16.6% in Hunan and 22.3% in Henan met criteria for heavy drinking (average daily pure alcohol consumption ≥ 50 ml); and 3.0% in Hunan and 7.3% in Henan reported frequent intoxication. Adult men with lower education in Hunan and those with higher family incomes in Henan were more likely to engage in heavy drinking; those who were unmarried in Hunan and those with higher incomes in Henan were more likely to be intoxicated frequently. In both provinces, those who consumed distilled spirits were at higher risk for heavy drinking and frequent intoxication.


The majority of rural adult men in both provinces drink alcohol and a substantial minority-particularly those who consume distilled spirits-are heavy drinkers and report more frequent acute intoxication. The consumption of distilled spirits may be a useful target of intervention to reduce the prevalence of heavy drinking and the experience of intoxication.

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