Avoidable mortality is a measure of deaths that potentially could have been averted through effective prevention practices, public health policies, and/or provision of timely and adequate health care. This longitudinal analysis compares avoidable mortality among First Nations and non-Aboriginal adults.
Data are from the 1991-to-2006 Canadian Census Mortality and Cancer Follow-up Study. A 15% sample of 1991 Census respondents aged 25 or older was linked to 16 years of mortality data. This study examines avoidable mortality among 61,220 First Nations and 2,510,285 non-Aboriginal people aged 25 to 74.
During the 1991-to-2006 period, First Nations adults had more than twice the risk of dying from avoidable causes compared with non-Aboriginal adults. The age-standardized avoidable mortality rate (ASMR) per 100,000 person-years at risk for First Nations men was 679.2 versus 337.6 for non-Aboriginal men (rate ratio = 2.01). For women, ASMRs were lower, but the gap was wider. The ASMR for First Nations women was 453.2, compared with 183.5 for non-Aboriginal women (rate ratio = 2.47). Disparities were greater at younger ages. Diabetes, alcohol and drug use disorders, and unintentional injuries were the main contributors to excess avoidable deaths among First Nations adults. Education and income accounted for a substantial share of the disparities.
The results highlight the gap in avoidable mortality between First Nations and non-Aboriginal adults due to specific causes of death and the association with socioeconomic factors.