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COVID-19: Original Article
Worsening of health disparities across COVID-19 pandemic stages in Korea
Hyejin Lee, Hyunwoo Nam, Jae-ryun Lee, Hyemin Jung, Jin Yong Lee
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024038.   Published online March 13, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024038
  • 2,047 View
  • 113 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
With the end of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the health outcomes of this disease in Korea must be examined. We aimed to investigate health outcomes and disparities linked to socioeconomic status during the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea and to identify risk factors for hospitalization and mortality.
METHODS
This nationwide retrospective study incorporated an analysis of individuals with and without COVID-19 in Korea between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022. The study period was divided into 4 stages. Prevalence, hospitalization, mortality, and case-fatality rates were calculated per 100,000 population. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality.
RESULTS
Overall, the incidence rate was 40,601 per 100,000 population, the mortality rate was 105 per 100,000 population, and the case-fatality rate was 259 per 100,000 cases. A total of 12,577,367 new cases (24.5%) were recorded in stage 3 and 8,979,635 cases (17.5%) in stage 4. Medical Aid recipients displayed the lowest 3-year cumulative incidence rate (32,737 per 100,000) but the highest hospitalization (5,663 cases per 100,000), mortality (498 per 100,000), and case-fatality (1,521 per 100,000) rates. Male sex, older age, lower economic status, non-metropolitan area of residence, high Charlson comorbidity index, and disability were associated with higher risk of hospitalization and death. Vaccination was found to reduce mortality risk.
CONCLUSIONS
As the pandemic progressed, surges were observed in incidence, hospitalization, and mortality, exacerbating disparities associated with economic status and disability. Nevertheless, Korea has maintained a low case-fatality rate across all economic groups.
Summary
Korean summary
국민건강보험공단 자료를 이용하여 2020-2022년 후향적 코호트를 구축하여 시기별 코로나19 유병률, 입원률, 사망률, 치명률과 장애, 소득에 따른 건강격차를 확인하였을 때, 코로나19 대유행이 진행됨에 따라 발병률, 입원률, 사망률이 급증하고 건강 격차가 확대되었다. 그러나 이러한 격차에도 불구하고 한국은 다른 국가들과 비교하여 모든 소득수준에서 낮은 치명률을 유지하였다.
Key Message
Using data from the National Health Insurance Service, a retrospective cohort for the years 2020-2022 was established. By examining the COVID-19 prevalence rate, hospitalisation rate, mortality rate, and case-fatality rate, along with health disparities based on disability and economic status, as the pandemic progressed, there was a surge in incidence, hospitalisation, and mortality, widening disparities related to economic status and disability. Despite these disparities, Korea has maintained a low case-fatality rate across all economic groups.
Original Articles
Comparison of all-cause mortality associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease in Taiwan MJ cohort
Wei-Chun Cheng, Hua-Fen Chen, Hsiu-Chi Cheng, Chung-Yi Li
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024024.   Published online January 21, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024024
  • 2,065 View
  • 91 Download
AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The global burden of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rising. An alternative term, metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), instead highlights the associated metabolic risks. This cohort study examined patient classifications under NAFLD and MAFLD criteria and their associations with all-cause mortality.
METHODS
Participants who attended a paid health check-up (2012-2015) were included. Hepatic steatosis (HS) was diagnosed ultrasonographically. NAFLD was defined as HS without secondary causes, while MAFLD involved HS with overweight/obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or ≥2 metabolic dysfunctions. Mortality was tracked via the Taiwan Death Registry until November 30, 2022.
RESULTS
Of 118,915 participants, 36.9% had NAFLD, 40.2% had MAFLD, and 32.9% met both definitions. Participants with NAFLD alone had lower mortality, and those with MAFLD alone had higher mortality, than individuals with both conditions. After adjustment for potential confounders, the hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause mortality were 1.08 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78 to 1.48) for NAFLD alone and 1.26 (95% CI, 1.09 to 1.47) for MAFLD alone, relative to both conditions. Advanced fibrosis conferred greater mortality risk, with HRs of 1.93 (95% CI, 1.44 to 2.58) and 2.08 (95% CI, 1.61 to 2.70) for advanced fibrotic NAFLD and MAFLD, respectively. Key mortality risk factors for NAFLD and MAFLD included older age, unmarried status, higher body mass index, smoking, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and advanced fibrosis.
CONCLUSIONS
All-cause mortality in NAFLD and/or MAFLD was linked to cardiometabolic covariates, with risk attenuated after multivariable adjustment. A high fibrosis-4 index score, indicating fibrosis, could identify fatty liver disease cases involving elevated mortality risk.
Summary
Smoking-attributable mortality among Korean adults in 2019
Yeun Soo Yang, Keum Ji Jung, Heejin Kimm, Sunmi Lee, Sun Ha Jee
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024011.   Published online December 19, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024011
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  • 94 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Tobacco use ranks among the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. This study was conducted to calculate the mortality rate attributable to smoking in Korea for 2019 and to highlight the importance of tracking and monitoring smoking-related deaths for public health purposes.
METHODS
Population attributable risk (PAR) was used to estimate the number of deaths related to smoking in 2019. PAR percentages were applied to the estimated mortality figures for various diseases, with PAR determined based on relative risk (RR). Levin’s formula was used to calculate PAR, and RR was adjusted for age and alcohol consumption using Cox proportional hazards regression model to derive disease-specific regression coefficients. The analysis incorporated previously determined smoking rates from 1985, and use rates of novel tobacco products were not considered.
RESULTS
The findings revealed a total of 67,982 smoking-attributable deaths in Korea in 2019, 56,993 of which occurred in men and 11,049 in women. The PAR of smoking for various causes of death in adult men was highest for lung cancer at 74.9%, followed by pneumonia (29.4%), ischemic heart disease (42.3%), and stroke (30.2%). For women, the PAR for smoking-related death was highest for lung cancer (19.9%), followed by stroke (7.6%), pneumonia (5.7%), and ischemic heart disease (9.1%).
CONCLUSIONS
In countries experiencing rapid fluctuations in smoking rates, including Korea, regular studies on smoking-related mortality is imperative. Furthermore, it is necessary to investigate smoking-related deaths, including the prevalence of novel tobacco product use, to accurately gauge the risks associated with emerging tobacco products.
Summary
Korean summary
이 연구는 2019년 한국에서 흡연으로 인한 사망률을 계산하고 공중 보건 목적을 위한 흡연 관련 사망추적 및 모니터링의 중요성을 강조합니다. 연구 결과, 2019년 한국에서 흡연으로 인해 총 67,982명이 사망했으며, 이 중 남성이 56,993명, 여성이 11,049명이었습니다. 특히 남성의 경우 폐암(74.9%), 여성의 경우 폐암(19.9%)에서 흡연으로 인한 사망 위험이 가장 높게 나타났습니다.
Key Message
This study analyzed deaths attributable to smoking in Korea in 2019, revealing that a total of 67,982 individuals lost their lives due to smoking. Among these, 56,993 were men and 11,049 were women, with the highest smoking-related mortality rate observed in men due to lung cancer at 74.9%, and in women due to lung cancer at 19.9%. Through these findings, this research emphasizes the importance of tracking and monitoring smoking-related deaths for public health.
Increased risk of cancer and cancer-related mortality in middle-aged Korean women with prediabetes and diabetes: a population-based study
Thi Xuan Mai Tran, Soyeoun Kim, Huiyeon Song, Boyoung Park
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023080.   Published online August 28, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023080
  • 2,136 View
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study investigated the risk of developing and dying from all types of cancer, as well as cancer-specific mortality, in women diagnosed with prediabetes and diabetes.
METHODS
We included women aged ≥40 years who underwent cancer screening from 2009 to 2014 with follow-up until 2020. Diabetes status was determined based on fasting plasma glucose levels, self-reported history of diabetes, and the use of antidiabetic medication. We quantified the risk of cancer and mortality in the prediabetes and diabetes groups, relative to the normoglycemia group, by calculating adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs).
RESULTS
The study included 8,309,393 participants with a mean age of 52.7±9.7 years. Among these participants, 522,894 cases of cancer and 193,283 deaths were detected. An increased risk of cancer was observed in both the prediabetes group (aHR, 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.04) and the diabetes group (aHR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.14). The highest risk was identified in those with diabetes who developed liver (aHR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.66 to 1.79), pancreatic (aHR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.60 to 1.76), and gallbladder cancer (aHR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.36 to 1.51). Women with prediabetes and diabetes exhibited a 1.07-fold (95% CI, 1.05 to 1.08) and 1.38-fold (95% CI, 1.36 to 1.41) increased risk of death from cancer, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS
Both prediabetes and diabetes were associated with an elevated risk of cancer, as well as an increased risk of death from cancer, in middle-aged Korean women. However, the degree of risk varied depending on the specific site of the cancer.
Summary
Korean summary
40세 이상의 중년 여성에서 당뇨 또는 당뇨 전 단계는 암 발생 위험과 암으로 인한 사망위험을 증가시킴. 암 종별로는 위암, 대장암, 직장암, 간암, 담낭암, 췌장암, 유방암, 자궁경부암, 자궁암, 신장암, 방광암의 발생 위험이 증가한 반면, 갑상선암의 발생 위험은 감소하였음. 거의 대부분의 암종에서 당뇨는 암으로 인한 사망위험을 증가시킴
Key Message
Both prediabetes and diabetes were independently associated with an overall increased risk of cancer, with a stronger association with malignancies in the liver and pancreas in women. Additionally, both prediabetes and diabetes status are associated with an elevated risk of death from cancer. These findings support the need for prevention and management to reduce cancer-related burden and premature deaths due to cancer, not only in individuals with diabetes but also in those with prediabetes.
Did the socioeconomic inequalities in avoidable and unavoidable mortality worsen during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea?
Rora Oh, Myoung-Hee Kim, Juyeon Lee, Rangkyoung Ha, Jungwook Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023072.   Published online August 3, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023072
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study examined changes in socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in Korea before and after the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
METHODS
From 2017 to 2020, age-standardized mortality rates were calculated for all-cause deaths, avoidable deaths (preventable deaths, treatable deaths), and unavoidable deaths using National Health Insurance claims data and Statistics Korea’s cause of death data. In addition, the slope index of inequality (SII) and the relative index of inequality (RII) by six income levels (Medical Aid beneficiary group and quintile of health insurance premiums) were computed to analyze the magnitude and change of mortality inequalities.
RESULTS
All-cause and avoidable mortality rates decreased steadily between 2017 and 2020, whereas unavoidable mortality remained relatively stable. In the case of mortality inequalities, the disparity in all-cause mortality between income classes was exacerbated in 2020 compared to 2019, with the SII increasing from 185.44 to 189.22 and the RII increasing from 3.99 to 4.29. In particular, the preventable and unavoidable mortality rates showed an apparent increase in inequality, as both the SII (preventable: 91.31 to 92.01, unavoidable: 69.99 to 75.38) and RII (preventable: 3.42 to 3.66, unavoidable: 5.02 to 5.89) increased.
CONCLUSIONS
In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, mortality inequality continued to increase, although there was no sign of exacerbation. It is necessary to continuously evaluate mortality inequalities, particularly for preventable and unavoidable deaths.
Summary
Korean summary
이 연구는 COVID-19 발생 전후 한국에서의 사망률 추이와 사망률 불평등 변화를 조사했다. 2017~2020년 사이에 총사망률과 회피가능사망률은 줄어들었지만, 사망률의 사회경제적 불평등은 더 커지는 경향을 보였다. 특히 예방가능사망과 회피불가능사망에서 불평등이 커져 지속적인 추적과 평가가 필요하다.
Key Message
This study examined the trends in mortality rates and changes in mortality inequality in Korea before and after the onset of COVID-19. Between 2017 and 2020, while the all-cause and avoidable mortality rates decreased, there was a growing trend of inequality in mortality rates based on income levels. Particularly, inequalities in preventable and unavoidable deaths have increased, emphasizing the need for ongoing evaluation.
The association between glaucoma and all-cause mortality in middle-aged and elderly Chinese people: results from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study
Xiaoxu Huang, Mengqiao Xu, Minwen Zhou, Wenjia Liu, Xiaohuan Zhao, Xiaodong Sun
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023066.   Published online July 21, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023066
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This population-based, prospective cohort study investigated the association between glaucoma and mortality in older adults.
METHODS
Participants aged 45 years or older at baseline (47.9% male) were enrolled in 2011 for the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). All-cause mortality was observed during 7 years of follow-up. The baseline data were collected in the 2011 CHARLS, and participants were followed up for 7 years (until 2018). The risk of all-cause mortality was investigated using Cox proportional-hazards regression with age as the time scale, adjusting for significant risk factors and comorbid conditions.
RESULTS
Among the 14,803 participants included, the risk of all-cause death was significantly higher among people with glaucoma than among those without glaucoma, after adjustment for other confounders (hazard ratio [HR], 1.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04 to 2.03). In a subgroup analysis based on the mean age of death, among those who were 75 years and older (n=1,231), the risk of all-cause death was significantly higher in patients with glaucoma than in those without glaucoma (HR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.24 to 1.89).
CONCLUSIONS
Participants with glaucoma had a higher risk of all-cause mortality, especially those aged 75 years and above. Our findings revealed potential mechanisms underlying an association between glaucoma and all-cause mortality. They also highlighted the importance of glaucoma management to prevent premature death in middle-aged and older adults.
Summary
Key Message
The present study suggests that glaucoma is associated with a higher rate of mortality in middle-aged and elderly people in China, especially for those aged 75 years and older. This study provides an important reference for the design and evaluation of clinical glaucoma treatment and the management of patients of different ages.
Effect of trajectory of employment status on all-cause mortality in the late middle-aged and older population: results of the Korea Longitudinal Study of Aging (2006-2020)
Jeong Min Yang, Jae Hyun Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023056.   Published online June 8, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023056
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study conducted a longitudinal analysis of the effect of trajectory of employment status (TES) on all-cause mortality in late middle-aged and older Koreans based on the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA).
METHODS
After excluding missing values, data on 2,774 participants were analyzed using the chi-square test and the group-based trajectory model (GBTM) for data from the first to fifth KLoSA and the chi-square test, log-rank test, and Cox proportional hazard regression for data from the fifth to eighth KLoSA.
RESULTS
The GBTM analysis identified 5 TES groups: sustained white collar (WC; 18.1%), sustained standard blue collar (BC; 10.8%), sustained self-employed BC (41.1%), WC to job loss (9.9%), and BC to job loss (20.1%). Compared to the sustained WC group, the WC to job loss group had higher mortality at 3 years (hazard ratio [HR], 4.04, p=0.044), 5 years (HR, 3.21, p=0.005), and 8 years (HR, 3.18, p<0.001). The BC to job loss group had higher mortality at 5 years (HR, 2.57, p=0.016) and 8 years (HR, 2.20, p=0.012). Those aged 65 years and older and males in the WC to job loss and BC to job loss groups had an increased risk of death at 5 years and 8 years.
CONCLUSIONS
There was a close association between TES and all-cause mortality. This finding highlights the need for policies and institutional measures to reduce mortality within vulnerable groups with an increased risk of death due to a change in employment status.
Summary
Korean summary
본 연구는 제 1차~8차 한국고령화연구패널을 활용하여 중고령층의 근로활동 궤적과 사망 간의 연관성을 분석하였다. 근로활동 궤적을 파악하기 위하여 집단중심추세모형을 활용하였으며, 총 5가지의 근로활동 궤적을 도출하였다. 도출된 궤적을 바탕으로 카이제곱 검정과 콕스 비례위험모형을 통해 근로활동 궤적과 사망률 간의 연관성을 분석하였다. 연구 결과 화이트칼라에서 실업으로 변화하는 집단과 블루칼라에서 실업으로 변화하는 두 집단에서 사망 간의 유의한 결과를 발견하였으며, 특히, 65세 이상 집단과 남성 집단에서 강한 연관성이 존재하였다. 본 연구 결과를 바탕으로 근로활동 변화로 인해 사망 위험이 증가하는 취약 집단을 위한 정책적, 제도적 방안의 기초자료로서 활용되기를 기대한다.
Key Message
Compared with the sustained White Collar (WC) trajectory group, changed WC to job loss trajectory group and changed BC to job loss trajectory had higher mortality. The over 65 years group and the male group, a strong association between change in employment status and mortality was observed. This study emphasizes the need for policy and institutional measures to reduce mortality for vulnerable groups who are at increased risk of death due to changes in employment status.
Association of blood pressure measurements in sitting, supine, and standing positions with the 10-year risk of mortality in Korean adults
Inkyung Baik, Nan Hee Kim, Seong Hwan Kim, Chol Shin
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023055.   Published online June 8, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023055
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  • 1 Web of Science
  • 1 Crossref
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This prospective cohort study investigated the association between blood pressure (BP) as measured in different body postures and all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality risk.
METHODS
This population-based investigation included 8,901 Korean adults in 2001 and 2002. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were measured sequentially in the sitting, supine, and standing positions and classified into 4 categories: (1) normal, SBP <120 mmHg and DBP <80 mmHg; (2) high normal/prehypertension, SBP 120-129 mmHg and DBP <80 mmHg/SBP 130-139 mmHg or DBP 80-89 mmHg; (3) grade 1 hypertension (HTN), with SBP 140-159 mmHg or DBP 90-99 mmHg; and (4) grade 2 HTN, SBP ≥160 mmHg or DBP ≥100 mmHg. The date and cause of individual deaths were confirmed in the death record data compiled until 2013. Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard regression.
RESULTS
Significant associations were found between the BP categories and all-cause mortality, but only when BPs were measured in the supine position. The multivariate hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals, [CIs]) were 1.36 (95% CI, 1.06 to 1.75) and 1.59 (95% CI, 1.06 to 2.39) for grade 1 HTN and grade 2 HTN, respectively, compared with the normal category. The associations between the BP categories and CV mortality were significant regardless of body posture among participants ≥65 years, whereas they were significant for supine BP measurements only in those <65 years.
CONCLUSIONS
BP measured in the supine position predicted all-cause mortality and CV mortality better than BP measured in other postures.
Summary
Korean summary
본 역학 연구는 한국 성인 8,901명을 연구대상자로 하여 기초조사에서 세가지 자세, 즉 앉은 자세, 누운 자세, 일어선 자세에서 혈압을 측정하고, 이후 10년 동안의 사망 여부를 추적조사하여, 측정 자세에 따른 혈압과 사망 위험과의 관련성을 분석하였다. 그 결과, 누운 자세에서 측정된 고혈압(기준: 수축기 혈압이 140 mmHg 이상 혹은 이완기 혈압이 90 mmHg 이상)인 사람은 정상 혈압(기준: 수축기 혈압이 120 mmHg 미만이고 이완기 혈압이 80 mmHg 미만)인 사람에 비해 36%(1단계 고혈압) 혹은 59%(2단계 고혈압) 가량 총 사망 위험이 유의적으로 증가하는 것으로 나타났다. 이에 비해, 앉은 자세 및 일어선 자세에서 측정, 정의된 고혈압은 총 사망 위험을 증가시켰지만 유의적인 결과를 나타내지 못했다. 추후 연구에서 재확인이 필요하지만, 본 연구 결과가 시사하는 바는 앉은 자세나 일어선 자세보다 누운 자세에서 측정하는 혈압이 총 사망 위험을 더 잘 예측하므로, 고혈압 진단 외의 추가적인 활용 가능성이 있는 것으로 평가된다.
Key Message
The current epidemiological study revealed that blood pressure measured in a supine position could predict all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality better than blood pressure measured in a sitting or standing position. As a result, blood pressure measurements in a supine position may be useful in assessing mortality risk.

Citations

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality trends in Spain, 1980-2020
Lucia Cayuela, José Luis López-Campos, Anna Michela Gaeta, Rocio Reinoso-Arija, Aurelio Cayuela
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023036.   Published online March 18, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023036
  • 3,897 View
  • 125 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
In Spain, there has been a recent increase in the mortality rate for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in younger women. This study aimed to analyze trends in the COPD mortality rate in Spain from 1980 to 2020, evaluating any differences between genders and age groups.
METHODS
Death certificates and mid-year population data were obtained from the Spanish National Institute of Statistics. For both genders, age group-specific and standardized (overall and truncated) rates were calculated by the direct method using the world standard population. The data were analyzed using the joinpoint regression method.
RESULTS
In both men and women, the number of COPD deaths increased from 1980 to 1999 (average annual increase of 7% in men and 4% in women), while from 1999 onwards, deaths decreased by -1.0% per year in both genders. In women, there was a significant final period of increase in the 55-59 to 70-74 age groups and a slowing of the decline in the over 75 age group. Additionally, an increase in mortality for the truncated rates was observed for women between 2006 and 2020. In men under 70 years of age, there was an initial period in which death rates remained stable or significantly increased, followed by a period in which they decreased significantly.
CONCLUSIONS
Our study shows age and gender differences in COPD mortality trends in Spain. Although the data show a downward trend, we have identified a worrying increase in the truncated rates in women for the last few years.
Summary
Key Message
Currently, mortality trends for COPD in Spain shows age and gender differences. Although the data show an overall downward trend, we have identified a worrying increase in the truncated rates in women for the last few years. This could be representing the beginning of an epidemic increase in mortality from COPD in women. Consequently, strategies should be strengthened and promoted to prevent smoking in all its forms in the general population, as well as encourage proper cessation treatments.
Trends and all-cause mortality associated with multimorbidity of non-communicable diseases among adults in the United States, 1999-2018: a retrospective cohort study
Mengzi Sun, Ling Wang, Xuhan Wang, Li Tong, Lina Jin, Bo Li
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023023.   Published online February 14, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023023
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  • 112 Download
  • 1 Crossref
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Multimorbidity of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has brought enormous challenges to public health, becoming a major medical burden. However, the patterns, temporal trends, and all-cause mortality associated with NCD multimorbidity over time have not been well described in the United States.
METHODS
All adult participants were sourced from nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In total, 55,081 participants were included in trend analysis, and 38,977 participants were included in Cox regression.
RESULTS
The 5 NCDs with the largest increases over the study period were diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, liver conditions, and cancer. The estimated prevalence of multimorbidity increased with age, especially for middle-aged participants with 5 or more NCDs; in general, the prevalence of NCD multimorbidity was higher among females than males. Participants with 5 or more NCDs were at 4.49 times the risk of all-cause mortality of participants without any diseases. Significant interactions were found between multimorbidity and age group (p for interaction <0.001), race/ethnicity (p for interaction<0.001), and educational attainment (p for interaction=0.010).
CONCLUSIONS
The prevalence of multiple NCDs significantly increased from 1999 to 2018. Those with 5 or more NCDs had the highest risk of all-cause mortality, especially among the young population. The data reported by this study could serve as a reference for additional NCD research.
Summary
Key Message
This study included a series-cross sectional study and a retrospective cohort study, utilizing nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Multimorbidity of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has brought enormous challenges to public health, becoming a major medical burden. This study aimed to explore the patterns, temporal trends, and all-cause mortality of multimorbidity of NCDs in the United States from 1999 to 2018, by gender-specific and age-specific. The data reported by this study could serve as a reference for additional NCD research.

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    Vidhushei Yogeswaran, Youngdeok Kim, R. Lee Franco, Alexander R. Lucas, Arnethea L. Sutton, Jessica G. LaRose, Jonathan Kenyon, Ralph B. D’Agostino, Vanessa B. Sheppard, Kerryn Reding, W. Gregory Hundley, Richard K. Cheng, Hamid Reza Baradaran
    PLOS ONE.2024; 19(7): e0300154.     CrossRef
Systematic Review
Associations of daily diet-related greenhouse gas emissions with the incidence and mortality of chronic diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies
Jee Yeon Hong, Young Jun Kim, Sanghyuk Bae, Mi Kyung Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023011.   Published online December 30, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023011
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Although the entire process extending from food production to dietary consumption makes a large contribution to total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, little and inconsistent evidence exists on the epidemiological associations of daily diet-related GHG emissions with chronic disease risk or all-cause mortality. This systematic review and meta-analysis explored the observational epidemiological relationship between daily diet-related GHG emissions and health outcomes, including the risk of chronic diseases and all-cause mortality.
METHODS
Original articles published in English until May 2022 were identified by searching PubMed, Ovid-Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL, and Google Scholar. The extracted data were pooled using both fixed-effects and random-effects meta-analyses and presented as hazard and risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
RESULTS
In total, 7 cohort studies (21 study arms) were included for qualitative synthesis and meta-analysis. The GHG emissions of dietary consumption showed a significant positive association with the risk of chronic disease incidence and mortality in both fixed-effects and random-effects models (fixed: RR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.05; random: RR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.06). This positive association was robust regardless of how daily diet-related GHG emissions were grouped. More strongly animal- based diets showed higher GHG emissions. However, there were only a few studies on specific chronic diseases, and the subgroup analysis showed insignificant results. There was no evidence of publication bias among the studies (Egger test: p=0.79).
CONCLUSIONS
A higher GHG-emission diet was found to be associated with a greater risk of all-cause mortality.
Summary
Korean summary
식이로부터 배출되는 GHG양은 메타분석의 고정 효과 모델과 확률 효과 모델 모두에서 만성 질환 발병률 및 사망 위험과 유의미한 양의 상관 관계를 보여주었습니다. 동물성 식단은 더 높은 GHG 배출량을 나타냈으나, 특정 만성질환에 대한 연구의 수가 적었고 질환 별 하위군 분석에서 유의미한 결과를 보이지 않았습니다. 결론적으로 온실가스 배출량이 많은 식단은 모든 원인으로 인한 사망 위험이 더 큰 것으로 나타났습니다.
Key Message
Daily food consumption contributes a large part of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, however, no review study was conducted. This study is the first review paper that reviews the relationship between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from daily diet and chronic disease risk and all-cause mortality. GHG emissions from the daily diet were significantly positively associated with disease risk and mortality. Animal-based diets contributed most to diet-derived GHG emissions. Men tended to have diets with higher GHG emissions compared to women. At times when the response to climate change is urgent, this study can help many policymakers and health officials.

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  • The bounds of meta-analytics and an alternative method
    Ramalingam Shanmugam, Mohammad Tabatabai, Derek Wilus, Karan P Singh
    Epidemiology and Health.2024; : e2024016.     CrossRef
Original Articles
Mediation analysis of leisure activities on the association between cognitive function and mortality: a longitudinal study of 42,942 Chinese adults 65 years and older
Xingxing Chen, Wenfan Wu, Xian Zhang, Tingxi Long, Wenyu Zhu, Rundong Hu, Xurui Jin, Lijing L. Yan, Yao Yao
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022112.   Published online November 27, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022112
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Previous studies have established associations of cognitive function and leisure activities with mortality. This study aimed to evaluate whether leisure activities causally mediate these associations.
METHODS
This longitudinal study included 42,246 participants aged over 65 years from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey. The Mini-Mental State Examination and a self-reported scale were used to measure cognitive status and leisure activities, respectively. We examined the associations of cognitive function and leisure activities with mortality using Cox proportional hazards models. Causal mediation analysis was used to assess whether leisure activities mediated the association between cognitive function and mortality.
RESULTS
Cognitive function and leisure activities were inversely associated with mortality. Leisure activities accounted for 28.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 25.6 to 31.1) of the total effect of cognitive function and mortality. A higher mediated proportion (PM) was observed for physical leisure activities (PM, 20.1%; 95% CI, 18.0 to 22.3) than for social leisure activities (PM, 17.7%; 95% CI, 15.7 to 19.7). The mediating effect was higher among participants at younger ages (PM, 41.5%; 95% CI, 21.3 to 65.4), those with higher education levels (PM, 30.5%; 95% CI, 25.3 to 36.2), and residents of rural China (PM, 42.5%; 95% CI, 25.4 to 62.5).
CONCLUSIONS
Cognitive function was associated with inverse mortality. Leisure activities significantly mediated this association. Participation in leisure activities at the early stages of mild cognitive impairment could reduce the risk of mortality, which has a major impact on interventional strategies for healthy aging.
Summary
Key Message
Both cognitive function and leisure activities were associated with inverse mortality. Leisure activities were an important mediator of the association between cognitive function and mortality. A planned intervention for leisure activities, at an early stage of mild cognitive impairment, could promote health outcomes and optimally reduce the risk of mortality.

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    Oscar H. Del Brutto, Denisse A. Rumbea, Aldo F. Costa, Maitri Patel, Mark J. Sedler, Robertino M. Mera
    Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery.2024; 236: 108053.     CrossRef
  • Change in Healthy Lifestyle and Subsequent Risk of Cognitive Impairment Among Chinese Older Adults: A National Community-Based Cohort Study
    Chengxiang Hu, Kexin Jiang, Xiaoyue Sun, Yue He, Runhong Li, Yana Chen, Yuan Zhang, Yuchun Tao, Lina Jin, Lewis A Lipsitz
    The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.2024;[Epub]     CrossRef
  • Healthy lifestyle in late-life, longevity genes, and life expectancy among older adults: a 20-year, population-based, prospective cohort study
    Jun Wang, Chen Chen, Jinhui Zhou, Lihong Ye, Yang Li, Lanjing Xu, Zinan Xu, Xinwei Li, Yuan Wei, Junxin Liu, Yuebin Lv, Xiaoming Shi
    The Lancet Healthy Longevity.2023; 4(10): e535.     CrossRef
  • Associations of Unhealthy Lifestyle and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease With Cardiovascular Healthy Outcomes
    Wentao Wu, Wen Ma, Shiqi Yuan, Aozi Feng, Li Li, Haoxiao Zheng, Shuna Li, Ningxia He, Yuli Huang, Jun Lyu
    Journal of the American Heart Association.2023;[Epub]     CrossRef
Cause-specific mortality in Korea during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic
Jinwook Bahk, Kyunghee Jung-Choi
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022110.   Published online November 23, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022110
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study aimed to examine the trends in total mortality between 1998 and 2020 and to compare the changes in a wide range of detailed causes of death between 2020 (i.e., during the coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19] pandemic) and the previous year in Korea.
METHODS
We used registered population and mortality data for the years 1998-2020 obtained from Statistics Korea. The age-standardized all-cause mortality rate and the annual percent change between 1998 and 2020 were determined. The rate ratio and rate difference of the age-standardized mortality rate between 2019 and 2020 were calculated.
RESULTS
The age-standardized all-cause mortality rate in Korea has been on a downward trend since 1998, and the decline continued in 2020. In 2020, 950 people died from COVID-19, accounting for 0.3% of all deaths. Mortality decreased for most causes of death; however, the number of deaths attributed to sepsis and aspiration pneumonia increased between 2019 and 2020 for both men and women. Age-specific mortality rates decreased or remained stable between 2019 and 2020 for all age groups, except women aged 25-29. This increase was mainly attributed to a higher number of suicide deaths.
CONCLUSIONS
This study shed light on the issues of sepsis and aspiration pneumonia despite the successful response to COVID-19 in Korea in 2020. Cases of death from sepsis and aspiration pneumonia should be identified and monitored. In addition, it is necessary to develop a proactive policy to address suicide among young people, especially young women.
Summary
Korean summary
1998년 이래 한국의 연령표준화 총사망률은 지속적으로 감소하였고, 이러한 경향은 코로나19 대유행 첫해인 2020년에도 관찰되었다. 대부분 사망원인별 사망률이 코로나19 대유행이후에도 감소하였으나, 패혈증 및 흡인성 폐렴으로 인한 사망자가 남성과 여성 모두에서 증가했다. 연령별 사망률에서는 25-29세 여성을 제외한 모든 연령대에서 2019년에 비해 2020년 사망률이 감소하거나 유지되었고, 25-29세 여성의 사망률 증가는 주로 자살 사망의 증가에 기인했다.
Key Message
During 1988-2020, the age-standardized all-cause mortality rate in Korea has been on a downward trend and the decline continued in 2020. In 2020, mortality decreased for most causes of death, however, the number of deaths attributed to sepsis and aspiration pneumonia increased between 2019 and 2020. Age-specific mortality rates decreased or remained stable between 2019 and 2020 for all age groups, except women aged 25-29. This was mainly attributed to increased suicide deaths.

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    Motohiro Okada, Ryusuke Matsumoto, Eishi Motomura
    Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences Reports.2024;[Epub]     CrossRef
  • Temporal Fluctuations of Suicide Mortality in Japan from 2009 to 2023 Using Government Databases
    Ryusuke Matsumoto, Eishi Motomura, Motohiro Okada
    European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education.2024; 14(4): 1086.     CrossRef
  • Evaluation of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the all-cause, cause-specific mortality, YLL, and life expectancy in the first 2 years in an Iranian population—an ecological study
    Zahra Pirayesh, Seyed Mohammad Riahi, Ali Bidokhti, Toba Kazemi
    Frontiers in Public Health.2023;[Epub]     CrossRef
Inequitable distribution of excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea, 2020
Jin-Hwan Kim, Saerom Kim, Eunhye Park, Chang-yup Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022081.   Published online September 26, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022081
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study analyzed inequities in excess mortality according to region and socioeconomic position to explain the distribution of excess mortality in Korea in 2020.
METHODS
We acquired weekly all-cause mortality data from January 2015 to December 2020 from (1) the National Health Insurance Database and (2) Vital Statistics. Excess mortality for 2020 was calculated by comparing the weekly observed and expected deaths from the same period (2015-2019) using quasi-Poisson regression.
RESULTS
An inequitable distribution of excess mortality was identified. The estimated excess mortality in Korea was -29,112 (95% confidence interval, -29,832 to -28,391), corresponding to -55 per 100,000, and the ratio of observed deaths to expected deaths was 0.91. Negative excess mortality was observed except for females in the 0-14 age group. Male Medical Aid beneficiaries showed positive excess mortality, while non-disabled and disabled groups showed similar negative values. When the standardized mortality ratio was calculated for the top 10 causes of death, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease and septicemia increased, whereas those from diabetes mellitus and cerebrovascular disease decreased. The decrease in mortality was primarily concentrated in older adults, while the mortality of young females increased due to increased intentional self-harm.
CONCLUSIONS
This study adds essential evidence regarding the overall performance of Korea. The observed inequalities according to various socioeconomic variables indicate that the results of strict measures to control coronavirus disease 2019 were not distributed equitably. Efforts should be made to properly evaluate the current and future problems related to the pandemic.
Summary

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  • Did the socioeconomic inequalities in avoidable and unavoidable mortality worsen during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea?
    Rora Oh, Myoung-Hee Kim, Juyeon Lee, Rangkyoung Ha, Jungwook Kim
    Epidemiology and Health.2023; 45: e2023072.     CrossRef
Type 2 diabetes mellitus increases the severity of non-fatal injuries, but not the risk of fatal injuries, among driver victims of motor vehicle crashes in Taiwan
I-Lin Hsu, Wen-Hsuan Hou, Ya-Hui Chang, Chung-Yi Li
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022076.   Published online September 16, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022076
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Limited information is available on whether diabetes increases the severity of injuries from motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). This study aimed to investigate the association of type 2 diabetes with injury severity among driver victims of MVCs.
METHODS
This cohort study involved 75,737 adult driver victims with type 2 diabetes from Taiwan’s Police-Reported Traffic Accident Registry in 2015-2017, along with 150,911 sex-, age-, and calendar year-matched controls. The severity level of non- fatal injuries was derived from the International Classification of Diseases Programs for Injury Categorization based on the diagnostic codes of National Health Insurance claims within 3 days after an MVC. Information on fatal injuries within 3 days after an MVC was obtained from the Taiwan Death Registry. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of injury severity in association with type 2 diabetes.
RESULTS
After adjusting for potential confounders, driver victims with type 2 diabetes experienced significantly higher risks of mild and severe non-fatal injuries than their counterparts without diabetes, with covariate-adjusted ORs of 1.08 (95% CI, 1.05 to 1.11) and 1.28 (95% CI, 1.20 to 1.37), respectively. By contrast, the adjusted OR for fatal injuries was not significantly elevated, at 1.02 (95% CI, 0.89 to 1.18). Similar results were found when car and scooter driver victims were analyzed separately.
CONCLUSIONS
Type 2 diabetes was found to moderately increase the severity of non-fatal injuries from MVCs among car and scooter driver victims.
Summary
Key Message
With 75,737 driver victims with diabetes and 150,911 matched controls, this study showed an 8% and 28% increase in mild and severe non-fatal injury, respectively among driver victims with diabetes. Such increase in risk was equally applied to both car and scooter drivers. No increase in risk of 3-day mortality after crash was found.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health