Abstract P157: Leading Causes of Death Among Asian Americans
Background: Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing racial/ethnic groups in the United States (U.S). Our current understanding of Asian American mortality patterns have been distorted by the aggregation of distinct subgroups, which masks the heterogeneity of the leading causes of death among diverse Asian American subgroups. There is currently a knowledge gap on the health of these rapidly expanding populations with little evidence to recommend research agendas, create public health policy, and offer clinical guidelines. In this analysis, we examined the leading causes of death among Asian American subgroups to determine racial/ethnic differences in mortality within the U.S.
Methods: We examined national mortality rates for the six largest Asian American subgroups (Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese) from 2003-2010. U.S. death records from 34 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were used to identify race/ethnicity and cause of death by ICD-10 coding. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR), were calculated for each sex and racial/ethnic group relative to Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), adjusting for age. Mortality counts were used to rank the top ten causes of death among Asian Americans and the leading causes of death, death counts, and overall death percentage for each Asian American subgroup by sex were determined.
Results: We examined 15,943,806 U.S. death records. SMRs were lower for all Asian subgroups compared to NHWs (0.52 female, 0.5 male vs. 1.0 male and female) for all causes of mortality. There was heterogeneity in mortality rates across Asian subgroups. Filipino (0.59) and Japanese men (0.63) and women (0.58) had the highest SMRs compared to other Asian subgroups. Cancer is the leading cause of death for all Asian women (27.6% of all Asian deaths), except Asian Indian women with cardiovascular disease (CVD) as the leading cause of death (28% of all deaths). The leading cause of death varies among Asian subgroups for men. Aggregate data for Asian men indicates cancer as the leading cause of death (27.4% of all Asian deaths), however this is only true for Chinese (31.9%), Korean (33.9%) and Vietnamese men (32.4%). CVD is the leading cause of death for Filipino (28.5%), Japanese (26.5%), and Asian Indian (31.8%) men. Proportions of death among Asian Indian males due to CVD (31.8%) are nearly double that of cancer (17.7%). CVD is the leading cause of death for NHWs (25.9% females, 26.9% males) followed by cancer (21.9% females, 24.9% males).
Conclusions: There is significant heterogeneity in mortality patterns among Asian American subgroups. While Asian Americans in general have lower rates of mortality, CVD is an important cause of death for some subgroups. This heterogeneity calls to attention the need for more research in the distinct subgroups to help direct treatment and prevention efforts to reduce health disparities for this rapidly growing population.
Author Disclosures: K.G. Hastings: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.