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Monday, May 30, 2011
Access to alcohol outlets and harmful alcohol consumption: a multilevel study in Melbourne, Australia
To assess the association between access to off-premises alcohol outlets and harmful alcohol consumption.
Multilevel study of 2334 adults aged 18 to 75 years from 49 census collector districts (the smallest spatial unit in Australia at the time of survey) in metropolitan Melbourne.
Alcohol outlet density was defined as the number of outlets within a one-kilometre road network of respondents’ homes and proximity was the shortest road network distance to the closest outlet from their home. Using multilevel 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.
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 (OR 1.10, 95% 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.
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.