New study to investigate change in alcohol outlet density
News release from NETSCC, Public Health Research
07 November 2011
Will a reduction in the availability of alcohol in the community result in a reduction in alcohol health-related harm and consumption? A new study has been funded by the NIHR PHR programme to investigate change in alcohol outlet density in the local community in Wales.
Although there is previous research to suggest that higher outlet density is associated with alcohol-related harm there is little evidence from studies investigating change in outlet density. The study, led by Professor David Fone of Cardiff University, will bring together expertise in town planning, health informatics, epidemiology, statistics and public health to investigate the effect of change in alcohol availability on health problems associated with acute and chronic alcohol use in Wales.
To do this, the team will use Geographical Information System (GIS) methods to estimate a robust measure of population accessibility to alcohol outlets. They will obtain data on alcohol outlets from the 22 local authorities in Wales who maintain public registers of premises and personal license holders under The Licensing Act 2003.
The study will investigate links between annual changes in alcohol outlet density with four measures of alcohol-related harm:
- Drinking above recommended sensible limits and binge drinking;
- hospital admissions for residents of Wales aged 16 years and over which are wholly attributable to alcohol;
- night time attendances at accident and emergency (A&E) departments in Wales and;
- violent crime data reported by police forces to be alcohol related.
“The study could have important implications for the allocation of licenses to sell alcohol, town planning and the provision of alcohol support services,” says Professor Fone. “Furthermore, estimating outlet density is a complex issue as we purchase and consume alcohol in complex networked spaces. The study will identify the best ways to estimate outlet density to help us understand the link between health and location.”
The results are expected in 2014. Please visit the project page for details