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Pac Health Dialog. 2001 Mar;8(1):115-8.

The adverse effects of kava.

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Lautoka Hospital, Lautoka, Fiji.


In Fiji, kava is also known as yaqona or grog. A convenient sample of 300 kava drinkers in Nadi, Lautoka, Ba and Sigatoka were studied to see whether local people in Fiji experienced side effects of kava use. Because males usually consume kava in Fiji, we approached specific groups of people and asked them to participate in the survey. To evaluate the side effects of kava consumption, we interviewed housewives of male kava drinkers regarding specific effects of kava. We interviewed these housewives during kava drinking sessions since they were usually not taking part in the kava drinking. We also interviewed employers of these kava drinkers and the market vendors in Nadi Town since they were closely involved with kava drinkers. Wives of kava users felt deprived of basic family needs due to the amount of money spent on kava. In Urban schools, 64% males and 46.2% had tried kava. The present study aims to assess the prevalence of side effects of kava usage among a community sample of kava drinkers in Fiji and to compare the result with some of the side effects provided by other studies. The questionnaire also asked how much kava was consumed and the reasons. Since kava use is very much part of our everyday culture and existence, convincing people to change their behavior and kava consumption is a major tasks. I hope that this study would emphasize the need at a national level to educate people on the harmful effects of kava and the need for the health ministry to view very heavy kava intake as contributing to morbidity in Fiji.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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