Sex matters: secular and geographical trends in sex differences in coronary heart disease mortality


Lawlor, DA; Ebrahim, S; Davey Smith, G; (2001) Sex matters: secular and geographical trends in sex differences in coronary heart disease mortality. BMJ (Clinical research ed), 323 (7312). pp. 541-5. ISSN 0959-8138 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7312.541

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine secular trends and geographical variations in sex differences in mortality from coronary heart disease and investigate how these relate to distributions in risk factors. DESIGN: National and international data were used to examine secular trends and geographical variations in sex differences in mortality from coronary heart disease and risk factors. SETTING: England and Wales, 1921-98; Australia, France, Japan, Sweden, and the United States, 1947-97; 50 countries, 1992-6. DATA SOURCES: Office for National Statistics, World Health Organization, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. RESULTS: The 20th century epidemic of coronary heart disease affected only men in most industrialised countries and had a very rapid onset in England and Wales, which has been examined in detail. If this male only epidemic had not occurred there would have been 1.2 million fewer deaths from coronary heart disease in men in England and Wales over the past 50 years. Secular trends in mean per capita fat consumption show a similar pattern to secular trends in coronary heart disease mortality in men. Fat consumption is positively correlated with coronary heart disease mortality in men (r(s)=0.79; 95% confidence interval 0.70 to 0.86) and inversely associated with coronary heart disease mortality in women (-0.30; -0.49 to -0.08) over this time. Although sex ratios for mortality from coronary heart disease show a clear period effect, those for lung cancer show a cohort effect. Sex ratios for stroke mortality were constant and close to unity for the entire period. Geographical variations in the sex ratio for coronary heart disease were associated with mean per capita fat consumption (0.64; 0.44 to 0.78) but were not associated with the sex ratio for smoking. CONCLUSION: Sex differences are largely the result of environmental factors and hence not inevitable. Understanding the factors that determine sex differences has important implications for public health, particularly for countries and parts of countries where the death rates for coronary heart disease are currently increasing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Adult, Aged, Coronary Disease/etiology/*mortality, Dietary Fats/administration & dosage, Europe/epidemiology, Female, Humans, Japan/epidemiology, Male, Middle Aged, Regression Analysis, Risk Factors, Sex Distribution, United States/epidemiology, Adult, Aged, Coronary Disease, etiology, mortality, Dietary Fats, administration & dosage, Europe, epidemiology, Female, Humans, Japan, epidemiology, Male, Middle Aged, Regression Analysis, Risk Factors, Sex Distribution, United States, epidemiology
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 11546699
Web of Science ID: 170934600020
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/12631

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