Major causes of death (50+ years)

The major causes of death for older Māori and non-Māori, by gender, are presented in this chart book. Causes of death have been ranked by age-standardised mortality rates (Table 15).

Table 15 shows that, for males, ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of death for Māori and non-Māori in both age groups. For females, the leading causes of death were: ischaemic heart disease for both Māori and non-Māori 65+ years of age; lung cancer for Māori aged 50–64 years; and breast cancer for non-Māori aged 50–64 years.

In general, lung cancer ranked higher for Māori than for non-Māori, except for males aged 50–64 years, among whom it was the second leading cause of death for both Māori and non-Māori.

In the 65+ years age group chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was the third leading cause of death for Māori and non-Māori females, and the fourth leading cause of death for Māori and non-Māori males. It was also the fifth leading cause of death for both Māori males and Māori females aged 50–64 years, but it was not in the top five causes of death for non-Māori in the same age group.

Diabetes featured in the top five causes of death for Māori males and females in each age group but did not feature in the top five for non-Māori of either gender.

How to interpret results – tables

Table 15: Major causes of death, ranked by age-standardised mortality rates, Māori and non-Māori, by gender, 2005–07
  50–64 years 65+ years
  Māori non-Māori Māori non-Māori
Males Ischaemic heart disease Ischaemic heart disease Ischaemic heart disease Ischaemic heart disease
Lung cancer Lung cancer Lung cancer Stroke
Diabetes Colorectal cancer Diabetes Lung cancer
Other forms of heart disease Stroke Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Suicide and self-inflicted injury Other forms of heart disease Colorectal cancer
Females Lung cancer Breast cancer Ischaemic heart disease Ischaemic heart disease
Ischaemic heart disease Lung cancer Lung cancer Stroke
Breast cancer Colorectal cancer Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Diabetes Ischaemic heart disease Stroke Colorectal cancer
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Stroke Diabetes Lung cancer

Source: Mortality collection (MORT), Ministry of Health

Notes:
Prioritised ethnicity has been used – see Ngā Tapuae me ngā Raraunga: Methods and data sources for further information.
Age standardised to the 2001 Census total Māori population.

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