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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The social gradient of alcohol availability in Victoria, Australia

To explore the socioeconomic gradient of alcohol availability in Victoria, Australia.

Using data for the smallest geographic units available, per-capita and area-based measures of alcohol outlet density were calculated for four types of alcohol outlet (broadly: restaurants, hotels, packaged liquor outlets and licensed clubs). These densities were aggregated across deciles of socioeconomic disadvantage, to compare the average density of alcohol outlets across ten levels of socioeconomic status. In addition, negative binomial regression models were developed, assessing the relationship between density and socioeconomic status while controlling for relevant covariates.

In urban areas, both takeaway liquor outlets and licensed clubs were significantly more likely to be located in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage, while hotel and restaurant licences were more prevalent in advantaged areas. In rural and regional Victoria, all types of outlet types were more prevalent in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage.

The findings suggest that disparities in exposure to alcohol outlets in Victoria may play a role in explaining socioeconomic disparities in health outcomes, with Victorians living in disadvantaged areas generally faced with higher levels of alcohol availability.

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