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Addiction. 2011 Oct;106(10):1772-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03510.x. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Access to alcohol outlets and harmful alcohol consumption: a multi-level study in Melbourne, Australia.

Author information

1
The Centre for Women's Health Gender and Society, School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. a.kavanagh@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

AIMS:

To assess the association between access to off-premises alcohol outlets and harmful alcohol consumption.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

Multi-level study of 2334 adults aged 18-75 years from 49 census collector districts (the smallest spatial unit in Australia at the time of survey) in metropolitan Melbourne.

MEASUREMENTS:

Alcohol outlet density was defined as the number of outlets within a 1-km road network of respondents' homes and proximity was the shortest road network distance to the closest outlet from their home. Using multi-level logistic regression we estimated the association between outlet density and proximity and four measures of harmful alcohol consumption: drinking at levels associated with short-term harm at least weekly and monthly; drinking at levels associated with long-term harm and frequency of consumption.

FINDINGS:

Density of alcohol outlets was associated with increased risk of drinking alcohol at levels associated with harm. The strongest association was for short-term harm at least weekly [odds ratio (OR) 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04-1.16]. When density was fitted as a categorical variable, the highest risk of drinking at levels associated with short-term harm was when there were eight or more outlets (short-term harm weekly: OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.22-4.54 and short-term harm monthly: OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.07-3.04). We found no evidence to support an association between proximity and harmful alcohol consumption.

CONCLUSIONS:

The number of off-premises alcohol outlets in a locality is associated with the level of harmful alcohol consumption in that area. Reducing the number of off-premises alcohol outlets could reduce levels of harmful alcohol consumption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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