Mortality Differences Between Elderly Mexican Americans and Non‐Hispanic Whites in San Antonio, Texas

David V. Espino, Ernesto O. Parra, Rod Kriehbiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify differences in causes of death between elderly Mexican Americans (MA) and non‐Hispanic whites (NHW). Design: Retrospective death certificate review. Subjects: Elderly Mexican Americans and non‐Hispanic Whites age 65 and over who died in Bexar County, Texas during 1989. Measures: Data obtained from chart review included age, sex, race/ethnicity, and cause of death. Age‐adjusted and cause‐specific mortality rates, odds ratios (OR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Results: Mexican Americans were at greater risk of dying in nine of the thirty causes of death examined. The mortality rates of MA subjects were higher than those of NHW from death caused by diabetes (OR = 3.19, CI = 2.27–4.49), renal failure (OR = 2.06, CI = 1.44–2.94), congestive heart failure (OR = 1.50, CI = 1.44–2.94), and multiple systemic diseases (OR = 2.59, CI = 1.89–3.57). Among the male subjects, MA had a greater risk than NHW of dying from myocardial infarction (OR = 1.83, CI = 1.15–2.90), coronary disease (OR = 1.37, CI = 1.07–1.75) and septicemia/pyuria (OR = 2.12, CI = 1.09–4.10). Among female subjects, MA had a greater likelihood of dying from cirrhosis (OR = 3.03, CI = 1.00–9.29). For only one of the causes of death was the risk lower among MA than NHW: MA female subjects had a lesser chance of dying from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than NHW females (OR = 0.36, CI = 0.18–0.72). Conclusion: Mexican American elders have a greater risk of dying from non‐insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and renal failure than their NHW counterparts. Elderly MA men have a greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than their NHW counterparts. Mexican American women may have a greater risk of dying from cirrhosis, but a lower risk of dying from complications of COPD. Finally, death from ill defined causes, such as multiple systemic diseases, may be a major under‐acknowledged cause of death among older MA. 1994 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-608
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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