Although the decline in ischemic heart disease mortality is now entering its third decade, there has been no definitive information on the experience of Mexican Americans, the nation's second largest minority group. Earlier studies carried out in the 1970s were hampered by the unavailability of satisfactory population data beyond 1970. In the present study we have used 1970 and 1980 census data to compute death rates in Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites from Texas for the periods 1969-1971 and 1979-1981. All four sex-ethnic groups showed statistically significant declines in death rates due to all causes, due to total ischemic heart disease, and due to acute myocardial infarction between 1969-1971 and 1979-1981. Declines in the latter two causes of death were least marked in Mexican American men. This sex-ethnic group was also the only one that failed to show a decline in death rates due to chronic ischemic heart diseases. The fact that Mexican Americans have been shown to be less well informed about and less likely to adopt lifestyle changes aimed at reducing heart disease risk than non-Hispanic whites may account for the less striking mortality decline observed in Mexican American men, but is harder to reconcile with the apparent equal decline in Mexican American women compared with non-Hispanic whites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)