Correlates of Betel Nut Chewing among Burmese Refugees in Nebraska

Document Type : Short Communications


Department of Health Promotion, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984340 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA.


Background: Betel nut chewing is an important risk factor for oral cancer, yet there has been little research identifying correlates of betel nut chewing among Burmese refugees in the U.S. Methods: Based on survey data from 188 Burmese refugees from Nebraska between 2015 and 2016, logistic regression was estimated to identify correlates of betel nut chewing. Results: The prevalence rate of betel nut chewing among participating Burmese refugees in Nebraska was 29%. Relative to Burmese refugees who had an education of less than high school, refugees with higher education were less likely to report betel nut chewing (AOR=0.1, 95% CI (0.02, 0.61)). Refugees who worked full time had higher odds of chewing betel nuts compared to those otherwise (AOR=6.17, 95% CI (1.80, 21.10)). Delaying medication purchase due to cost during the past 12 months was associated with higher odds of betel nut chewing (AOR=5.20, 95% CI (1.02, 26.39)). Conclusions: Betel nut chewing was common among Burmese refugees in the U.S., yet the odds of betel nut chewing varied across different socioeconomic groups. Health education programs that aim to reduce betel nut chewing might become more cost-effective by disproportionately targeting and serving high-risk groups among Burmese refugees.


Main Subjects