Cause-specific mortality among young adults in Belgium: differences according to nationality of origin

Hannelore De Grande, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Hadewijch Vandenheede, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

This study addresses nationality differences in cause-specific mortality among adolescents and young adults in Belgium. Although mortality at a young age is rather rare, most of these deaths are preventable and are of public-health concern. Recent research in the Brussels-Capital Region found that descendants of migrants have similar mortality rates as native Belgians. In this paper we go more into depth on specific causes and analyse if there are different patterns according to nationality of origin. Data are derived from the Belgian 2001census both linked to the National Registry and to death certificates of the Flemish (FL) and Brussels-Capital Region (BCR). There is a follow-up between 01/10/2001 and 01/01/2010. Analyses are restricted to persons aged 10-29 at baseline (N=1,689,716). Cause-specific mortality will be compared between native Belgians and Turks/Maghrebins (T/M), Sub-Saharan Africans (SSA), Southern and Western Europeans. Both Age-Standardised Mortality Rates (ASMRs) using direct standardisation and Mortality Rate Ratios (MRR) using Poisson regression are presented. Among men, important differences are found between native Belgians and other nationalities of origin. Among women, we observe small mortality rates in all nationality groups, with only significant higher suicide mortality rates for native Belgian women compared to the other nationality groups. Native Belgian men also show a higher risk in both suicide and road accident mortality, although regional differences are found in road accidents. Turks, Maghrebins and especially Sub-Saharan Africans show higher homicide and substance use rates than native Belgians. Differences in homicide rates remain robust after including confounding variables, while substance use is explained by the lower socio-economic position of Turks, Maghrebins and Sub-Saharan Africans. Local prevention actions against violence and substance abuse should specifically target these nationality groups.

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Presented in Session 23: Mortality in subpopulations