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Keywords:

  • Alcohol consumption;
  • alcohol-induced disorders;
  • death rate;
  • inequity;
  • mortality

Abstract

Aims

To describe mortality from diseases, conditions and injuries where alcohol was a necessary cause in selected countries in the Americas.

Design

A descriptive, population-based study.

Setting

The data come from 16 countries in North, Central and South America for the triennium 2007–09 (latest available data).

Participants/Cases

A total of 238 367 deaths were analyzed.

Measurements

We calculated age-adjusted and age-specific mortality rates by sex and country using the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) mortality database.

Findings

The annual average of deaths where alcohol was a necessary cause in the 16 countries was 79 456 (men comprised 86% and women 14%). People aged 40–59 years represented 55% overall. Most deaths were due to liver diseases (63% overall) and neuropsychiatric disorders (32% overall). Overall age-adjusted rates/100 000 were higher in El Salvador (27.4), Guatemala (22.3), Nicaragua (21.3) and Mexico (17.8) and lower in Colombia (1.8), Argentina (4.0) and Canada (5.7). The age groups at the highest risk were 54–59 to 64–69 years in most countries. In Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua the rates increased earlier, among those aged 30–49 years. Male rates were higher than female rates in all countries, but the male : female ratio varied widely.

Conclusions

Diseases, conditions or injuries where alcohol is a necessary cause are an important cause of premature mortality in the Americas, especially among men. Some countries show high risk of dying from this group of causes.