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Journal Articles Epidemiology and Public Health = Revue d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique Year : 2004

[Gender differences in premature mortality and avoidable deaths]


OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to describe and to analyse disparities between men and women for "premature" mortality rates (deaths before 65 year-old). The study is particularly focused on "avoidable" causes of death. These types of deaths are greatly related to risk behaviours such as alcohol abuse, tobacco abuse or dangerous driving. Taking account of these indicators ("premature" and "avoidable" mortality) enables to study health status discrepancies by gender and to characterize specific public health issues in France including high rates of "premature" mortality and risk behaviours. METHODS: The analysis is based on exhaustive mortality data from 1980 to 1999 supplied by the Centre for epidemiology of medical causes of death (CepiDc-INSERM). Specific causes of death closely related to risk behaviours are classified as "avoidable": lung and upper airways cancers, cirrhosis, alcoholic psychosis, traffic accidents, aids and suicide. The contribution of these categories in the global male overmortality was assessed according to different demographic and geographic characteristics. RESULTS: Within "premature" mortality, males experience greater burden of "avoidable" mortality (sex-ratio: 4 versus 2). The gender differences are mainly due to injuries and suicides in the younger age groups and to tobacco and alcohol-related cancers (lung and upper airways) in the 45-64 years age group. The recent decline in "premature" mortality sex-ratio is explained by an increase of these two cancers for females. Among european countries, the French male overmortality is especially marked and mainly attributable to "avoidable" causes of death. CONCLUSION: "Avoidable" and "premature" mortality provide useful tools for the follow-up of health status in France particularly because of high risk behaviours and prevention inadequacy. Reducing gender discrepancies will depend mainly on public health policies in terms of primary prevention.
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Dates and versions

inserm-00086215 , version 1 (18-07-2006)


  • HAL Id : inserm-00086215 , version 1
  • PUBMED : 15480289


Hassina Lefèvre, Eric Jougla, Gérard Pavillon, Alain Le Toullec. [Gender differences in premature mortality and avoidable deaths]. Epidemiology and Public Health = Revue d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique, 2004, 52, pp.317-28; discussion 329-31. ⟨inserm-00086215⟩


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