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Ethnic inequalities in mortality among the elderly in New Zealand

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-10-01, 00:00 authored by Santosh JatranaSantosh Jatrana, Tony Blakely
OBJECTIVES: To explore the contributions of socio-economic and demographic factors to ethnic disparity among older adult (65+) all cause and cause-specific mortality differentials among Māori, Pacific, Asians and non-Māori, non-Pacific non-Asian (nMnPnA) in New Zealand. METHODS: We used univariate and multivariable Poisson regression models on linked New Zealand census and mortality data for older adults (65 years and above) (2001 to 2004, 1.3 million person years) with a comprehensive set of socio-economic indicators (education, income, car access, housing tenure, neighourhood deprivation). RESULTS: After controlling for the differences in age structure, Māori and Pacific males had a higher relative risk of dying than nMnPnA (RR=1.88 (95% Cl: 1.74, 2.04) and RR=1.75 (95% Cl: 1.54, 1.99) respectively) while Asian males had lower risk of dying (RR=0.66, 95% Cl: 0.57, 0.76). For females, the pattern was similar. The mortality gap between ethnic groups was mediated in part by socio-economic factors. The five socio-economic factors appear to account for greater than 40% of the excess mortality for Māori and Pacific men and about 34% for Māori females and 48% for Pacific females compared to nMnPnA men and nMnPnA women respectively. However, for Asian people, adjusting for socio-economic factors actually increases the relative gaps in mortality compared to nMnPnA by 18% for male and 71% for females. CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate that clear ethnic mortality gradients persist into old age and the mortality level of most groups was influenced by varying distribution of socio-economic factors. To reduce ethnic differences in old age mortality, inequalities as a result of socio-economic position should be reduced.

History

Journal

Australian and New Zealand journal of public health

Volume

32

Issue

5

Pagination

437 - 443

Publisher

Wiley

Location

Chichester, Eng.

ISSN

1326-0200

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2008, The Authors