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Exploring knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to alcohol in Mongolia: a national population-based survey

Alessandro R Demaio1*, Otgontuya Dugee2, Maximillian de Courten1, Ib C Bygbjerg1, Palam Enkhtuya2 and Dan W Meyrowitsch3

Author Affiliations

1 Copenhagen School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen, PO Box 2099, Copenhagen K Dk-1014, Denmark

2 Public Health Institute, Mongolian Ministry of Health, Olympic Street 2, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

3 Section of Health Services Research, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, Copenhagen, DK-1014, Denmark

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:178  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-178

Published: 27 February 2013



The leading cause of mortality in Mongolia is Non-Communicable Disease. Alcohol is recognised by the World Health Organization as one of the four major disease drivers and so, in order to better understand and triangulate recent national burden-of-disease surveys and to inform policy responses to alcohol consumption in Mongolia, a national Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices survey was conducted. Focusing on Non-Communicable Diseases and their risk factors, this publication explores the alcohol-related findings of this national survey.


A door-to-door, household-based questionnaire was conducted on 3450 people from across Mongolia. Participants were recruited using a multi-stage random cluster sampling technique, and eligibility was granted to permanent residents of households who were aged between 15 and 64 years. A nationally representative sample size was calculated, based on methodologies aligned with the WHO STEPwise approach to Surveillance.


Approximately 50% of males and 30% of females were found to be current drinkers of alcohol. Moreover, nine in ten respondents agreed that heavy episodic drinking of alcohol is common among Mongolians, and the harms of daily alcohol consumption were generally perceived to be high. Indeed, 90% of respondents regarded daily alcohol consumption as either ‘harmful’ or ‘very harmful’. Interestingly, morning drinking, suggestive of problematic drinking, was highest in rural men and was associated with lower-levels of education and unemployment.


This research suggests that Mongolia faces an epidemiological challenge in addressing the burden of alcohol use and related problems. Males, rural populations and those aged 25-34 years exhibited the highest levels of risky drinking practices, while urban populations exhibit higher levels of general alcohol consumption. These findings suggest a focus and context for public health measures addressing alcohol-related harm in Mongolia.

Alcohol; Epidemiology; Mongolia; Asia; KAP survey; Policy; Health