Hospital admissions tend to be higher in areas with more alcohol outlets

A study published in Addiction examined the association of alcohol outlets and hospital admission rates in various areas.

United Kingdom-based researchers assessed all 32,482 census areas in England with 42.2 million people aged 15-plus years old. They calculated densities for six alcohol outlet categories. The study period ranged from 2002-03 to 2013-14.

There were 1 million admissions wholly and 2.1 million admissions partially attributable to alcohol over 12 years.

The study shows areas that had higher alcohol outlet density had a 13 percent higher hospital admission rate for acute conditions and a 22 percent higher rate of admissions for chronic conditions caused by alcohol.

Researchers found areas with the highest density of restaurants licensed to sell alcohol had a 9 percent higher admission rates for acute conditions as well as 9 percent higher admission rates for chronic conditions. Areas with the highest density of convenience stores had 10 percent higher admission rates for acute conditions and 7 percent higher admission rates for chronic conditions as compared to areas with the lowest density of convenience stores.

However, Ravi Maheswaran, a study author and professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Sheffield, noted that while researchers "have observed clear associations between alcohol outlet densities and hospital admissions, our study cannot confirm if these associations are causally linked."

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