Avoidable deaths in Sweden, 1997–2018: temporal trend and the contribution to the gender gap in life expectancy

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Background: Avoidable mortality is considered as a potential indicator of the influences of public health policies and healthcare quality on population health. This study aimed to examine the trend in avoidable mortality and its influence on rising life expectancy (LE) and declining gender gap in LE (GGLE) in Sweden. Methods: We extracted data on causes of death by age, sex, and year from national registry from 1997 to 2018. The UK Office for National Statistics definition was used to divide causes of death into five mutually exclusive categories: amenable, preventable, amenable & preventable, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and non-avoidable causes. We applied Joinpoint regression to analyse temporal trends in age-standardized mortality rates. The Arriaga method was applied to decompose changes in LE and GGLE by age group and causes of death. Results: Average annual reductions in avoidable vs. non-avoidable mortality were 2.6% (95% CI:2.5, 2.7) vs. 1.4% (95% CI:1.3, 1.5) in men, and 1.6% (95% CI:1.4, 1.9) vs. 0.9% (95% CI:0.7, 1.0) in women over the study period. LE in men rose by 4.1 years between 1997 and 2018 (from 72.8 to 76.9 years), of which 2.4 years (59.3%) were attributable to reductions in avoidable mortality. Corresponding LE gain was 2.3 years in women (from 78.0 in 1997 to 80.3 in 2018) and avoidable mortality accounted for 1.0 year (45.6%) of this gain. Between 1997 and 2018, the GGLE narrowed by 1.9 years, of which 1.4 years (77.7%) were attributable to avoidable causes. Among avoidable causes, while preventable causes had the largest contribution to the GGLE, IHD had the greatest contributions to LE gains and the narrowing GGLE. Conclusions: Our findings showed that avoidable causes had a substantial contribution to gain in LE with more profound gain in men than in women, resulting in narrowing the GGLE. Lower pace of reductions in preventable than amenable mortality highlights the need for improving the effectiveness of inter-sectoral health policies aimed at behavioural changes.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Skåne University Hospital

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi
TidskriftBMC Public Health
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2021 dec 1
Peer review utfördJa