Australians have long had a reputation for being heavy drinkers. Their vim and zest for life often involves the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Now alcoholism appears to be hitting the middle class especially hard in Sydney.
The northern suburbs of Sydney could have the healthiest residents in the city if it weren't for just one thing - their drinking.
A study by local government area has found vast disparities in the health of “Sydneysiders”, with poorer suburbs bearing a far greater share of the burden of disease.
Breast cancer was the only other health problem that did not occur more frequently among poorer women, although research indicated it was spread more evenly than alcohol-related conditions.
Although the stereotype is of working class blokes going to the pub every day and drinking all night, if you look at the data on dangerous drinking it does tend to be a bit more common in affluent groups.
Smoking and obesity are still the greatest risks for people in the poorest suburbs. They are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital for illness related to these factors.
In Campbelltown, Sydney's unhealthiest local government area, more than one quarter of women smoke during pregnancy. In the wealthiest local government area, Ku-ring-gai, only 0.8 per cent do.
Socio-economic differences were the most significant factor in explaining health inequalities. Poorer people tended to have less access to safe jobs, quality housing and good education.
Hopefully alcohol awareness classes will take root in Australia. Educating people to the dangers of alcohol abuse is key toward not only curbing alcoholism but also numerous other ailments.