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S Afr Med J. 1982 Dec 25;62(27):1017-26.

Deaths from destructive lifestyles (largely preventable among economically active Whites in South Africa, 1968--1977.


In South Africa, 60% of the deaths economically active (EA) White males and 40--50% among EA White females in recent years were largely preventable, being a result of destructive lifestyles. The most common cause of death was ischaemic heart disease (IHD), accounting for 30% of deaths among EA males and 20% of deaths among EA females. The next most common cause of death was motor vehicle accidents in males (10%), and cerebrovascular diseases (CVA) in females (10%). However, among males in England, Wales and Scotland, lung cancer was the second most common cause of death, and as from 1974 this was also the case among American males. Age-adjusted mortality rates (MRs) of White South African males were compared with the MRs of males in the USA, Australia, England and Wales, and Scotland over the period 1968--1977. The MRs of White South African males were higher than those males in the other populations for IHD, CVA, motor vehicle accidents and suicides, but not for lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases (highest MR among Scottish males). Over the period 1968--1977 the MRs for IHD were unchanged among males in South Africa (220-250/00 000), Scotland (190/00 000) and England and Wales (150/00 000), but those of males in the USA and Australia fell by 25% and 21% respectively to around 150/00 000 by 1977. MRs for motor vehicle accidents in White males in South Africa fell by 33% in 1974 due to the strict enforcement of lowered speed limits at the start of the oil crisis.

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