Trends and Correlates of Disparities in Alcohol-Related Mortality Between Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Whites in the United States, 1999 to 2014

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Abstract

Background:

Among Hispanics, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis are among the leading causes of death despite generally lower alcohol consumption rates. Moreover, recent national studies have suggested temporal changes in Hispanic consumption and alcohol mortality, which raises the question of whether Hispanic white disparities in alcohol-related mortality are also changing over time. This study aimed to describe temporal trends of alcohol-related mortality between Hispanics and non-Hispanic (NH) whites in the United States from 1999 to 2014 and to assess county-level sociodemographic characteristics that are associated with racial/ethnic disparities in age-adjusted alcohol-related mortality.

Methods:

We conducted a population-based, cross-sectional, ecologic study using multiple cause-of-death mortality data linked, at the county level, to census data from the American Community Survey.

Results:

Overall, 77% of alcohol-related deaths were among men, and Hispanic men had the highest age-adjusted alcohol-related mortality rate (41.6 per 100,000), followed by NH white men (34.8), NH white women (10.8), and Hispanic women (6.7). Whereas the relative gap in alcohol-related mortality between NH white and Hispanic women increased from 1999 to 2014, the disparity between NH white and Hispanic men that was pronounced in earlier years was eliminated by 2012. From 2007 to 2014, when the race/ethnic disparity among men was decreasing, county-specific Hispanic:NH white age-adjusted mortality ratios (AAMRs) ranged from 0.29 to 2.64. Lower Hispanic rates were associated with large metropolitan counties, and those counties that tended to have Hispanic populations were less acculturated, as evidenced by their higher rates of being foreign-born, non-U.S. citizens or citizens through naturalization, and a higher proportion that do not speak English “very well.”

Conclusions:

Since 1999, whereas the increasing mortality rate among whites is leading to a widening gap among women, mortality differences between Hispanic and white men have been eliminated. The understanding of contextual factors that are associated with disparities in alcohol-related mortality may assist in tailoring prevention efforts that meet the needs of minority populations.

Population-based multiple cause of death data were used to describe temporal trends of alcohol-related mortality between Hispanics and NH whites in the United States. This figure, particularly the boxed inset, shows that although the gap in alcohol-related mortality between NH white and Hispanic women increased from 1999 to 2014, the same disparity among men, which was pronounced in earlier years, was eliminated by 2012. The understanding of factors associated with changing disparities may assist in tailoring prevention efforts that meet the needs of minority populations.

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