Social determinants, or the conditions in which individuals are born, grow, live, work and age, can result in inequities in health and well-being. However, to-date little research has examined alcohol use and alcohol-related problems from an inequities and social determinants perspective. This study reviewed the evidence base regarding inequities in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related health outcomes in Australia and identified promising approaches for promoting health equity. Fair Foundations: the VicHealth framework for health equity was used as an organizing schema. The review found that social determinants can strongly influence inequities in alcohol consumption and related harms. In general, lower socioeconomic groups experience more harm than wealthier groups with the same level of alcohol consumption. While Australia has implemented numerous alcohol-related interventions and policies, most do not explicitly aim to reduce inequities, and some may inadvertently exacerbate existing inequities. Interventions with the greatest potential to decrease inequities in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms include town planning, zoning and licensing to prevent disproportionate clustering of outlets in disadvantaged areas; interventions targeting licensed venues; and interventions targeting vulnerable populations. Interventions that may worsen inequities include national guidelines, technological interventions and public drinking bans. There is a need for further research into the best methods for reducing inequities in alcohol consumption and related harms.
- inequalities in health
- literature review
- social determinants of health