Today we are launching an interactive webmap that allows users to map tobacco and alcohol outlet density, and related health outcomes, for neighbourhoods (‘datazones‘) across Scotland. The underlying data we have collected and assembled can also be freely downloaded for use. Our research from Scotland shows that outlet density matters for health:
areas with the highest alcohol outlet density have double the death rate of those with the lowest densities (see our blog post, report and infographic)
adolescents living in areas with the highest tobacco outlet density are almost 50% more likely to smoke than those with the lowest (see our blog post, paper and infographic).
ALCOHOL OUTLET DATA UPDATED 25 JUNE 2015: Previous to this date the alcohol outlet density data had used an alternate measure of density than outlets per km2, resulting in values that were typically 30-40% lower than the actual value. Whilst the figures have changed the general picture has not: an area of high density remains an area of high density. The rest of the data are unaffected.
As MSPs meet in the Scottish Parliament today to debate progress made against Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy, we’re launching a timely infographic to highlight the very real dangers of the oversupply of alcohol in our society, and the knock-on implications for health and inequality.
In our recently-published study into alcohol outlets and health in Scotland we found strong correlations between the two: neighbourhoods with higher availability of outlets had higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalisations. In fact, residents of neighbourhoods with the highest availability were more than twice as likely to die a drink-related death than those with the fewest outlets, all else* being equal (*deprivation and urban/rural status).
We know that factors throughout life influence our health and well-being in older age. Childhood poverty, early life education, difficult life events and many other factors have been shown to be strongly related to subsequent health outcomes. Yet almost all of this work has focused on our individual circumstances, and there have been few attempts to consider whether a wider set of factors – such as those at the community or neighbourhood level – affect our health over the life course. This is perhaps a surprise given the evidence that features of our local environment – such as air pollution, green space, and high numbers of retailers selling fast food, alcohol or cigarettes – are often associated with current health status. If these factors are causally related to health then there may be a number of policy opportunities (e.g. see our recent post on alcohol retail licensing). Continue reading Food environments around schools: what historical data might reveal about current obesity patterns→
How where we grow, live and age affects our health