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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Availability of convenience stores and adolescent alcohol use in Taiwan: a multi-level analysis of national surveys

To examine the association between alcohol in school environments and adolescent alcohol use over the previous 6 months.

A multi-level logistic regression analysis was performed of cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
A total of 52 214 students aged 11–19 years from 387 middle or high schools were selected from a nationally representative, multi-stage, stratified probability sampling across Taiwan.
Information on socio-demographic features and substance use experiences was collected using self-administered questionnaires. The alcohol in the environment was measured using the availability of convenience stores surrounding the schools. Using geographical information systems, the weighted numbers of convenience stores within 1 km, a 12–15-minute walk, of a school were calculated. The schools were later categorized into three subgroups via the tertile of nearby convenience stores.
Considering the compositional characteristics, the availability of convenience stores was found to account for 1.5% of the school-level variance of youthful drinking. The odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of alcohol use over the previous 6 months among youth attending schools with medium and high availability were 1.04 (0.96–1.13) and 1.08 (1.00–1.17), respectively, with a P-value of 0.04 in the trend test.
The greater availability of convenience stores near a school is associated with an increased risk of alcohol use among adolescents over the previous 6 months.

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