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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 1987;20(1): 10-39.
A Study on the Cause of Death of School Teachers in Korea.
Sung Kwan Lee
ABSTRACT
Mortality rate and causes of death are regarded as an index of strength as well as level of development of a country. However, there is no accurate data for the causes of death in Korea due to lack of systematic vital data collection system. The objective of this study was to define the causes of death of the school teachers, its changing pattern, cause-specific mortality rate, and geographic variation. The study population included all of the teachers in primary school, middle and high schools, and college who joined in Korean Teachers' Union between 1968 and 1985 that provided a total of 1,972,069 person-years to observe (1,384,911 man-years, 587,158 woman-years). There were 3,678 deaths in this period (3,377 males, 301 females). The most common cause of death was neoplasm which was followed by the diseases of circulatory system. The proportion of death of neoplasm was 1.5 times higher than that of the general population. Causes of death were classified into 5 major group (neoplasm, diseases of circulatory system, accidents and poisoning, diseases of liver, and all others). The mortality rates of diseases of circulatory system and all others for general population were 4 to 5 times higher than those for the teachers. However, mortality rates of neoplasm and diseases of liver were only about 2 times higher than those for teachers. Mortality rate of liver cancer for teachers was higher than gastric cancer mortality rate which is the reverse in general population. The crude death rate was 2.12 per 1,000 person-years for male and 1.00 for female which is one-third of the crude death rate of general population. Crude death rate of study population was higher in rural area than in urban area. However, mortality rate of neoplasm for male was higher in urban area than in rural area while mortality rates of all other causes were higher in rural area. For female, mortality rates of neoplasm and diseases of circulatory system were higher in urban area and the rates for all other causes were higher in rural area. Crude death rate was lowest in Gyeongin area and highest in Yeongnam area. The mortality of neoplasm for male accounted the highest proportion of all death in Gyeongin, Chungcheong and Yeoungnam areas while the mortality of neoplasm and mortality of circulatory system accounted the same proportion in Jeonra area. For female, the mortality of disease of circulatory system accounted the highest proportion in Gyeongin and Yeoungnam and Jeonra areas. Proportion of death due to accidents and poisoning was high in Chungcheong area and death due to all other causes was high in Yeoungnam area. The most common cause of death for male by city and province was neoplasm in Seoul, Pusan, Daegu, Gyeonggi, Chungnam, Chungbuk, Gyeongnam and Gyeongbuk. Diseases of circulatory system was the leading cause of death in the rest of city and provinces. The leading cause of death for female was diseases of circulatory system in Seoul, Incheon, Chungbuk, Chungnam, and Gyeongbuk, neoplasm in Pusan, and accident and poisons in all other cities and provinces. The mortality rates of male were above 2 per 1,000 person-years in Jeju, Gyeongbuk, Gyeongnam, Daegu, and Chungbuk, and it was below 1.5/1,000 in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi. The mortality rate of female was above 1.2/1,000 person-years in Gyeongnam and Incheon while it was below 0.5/1,000 in Daegu, Geonggi Chungbuk and Jeju. The leading cause for male by school of employment was neoplasm in all levels of school with a remarkably higher rate in the professors of college. Leading cause of death for female was disease of circulatory system in primary schools, high schools and college but neoplasm in middle schools. There was no death due to liver diseases in middle and high school teachers and college professors and no death due to all other category in igh school teachers and college professors, in females. High school teachers and the highest mortality rate and college professors showed the lowest mortality rate. Temporal trend of mortality was examined in three periods; period I (1968-1974), period II (1975-1979), and period III (1980-1985). The leading cause of death for male was diseases of circulatory system in period I and II but neoplasm in period III. Such trend of decreasing diseases of circulatory system and increasing neoplasm was observed in female. Overall mortality rate was decreased over the 3 periods. The mortality rates of diseases of circulatory system, liver disease and all others were decreased in male but the mortality rates of neoplasm and accident and poisons was increased. Female showed a similar trend to male but the mortality rate of liver diseases was increased. Mortality rates of diseases of circulatory system, neoplasm and liver diseases increased with age of teachers up to 50 years of age but decreased in 60 years of age. Mean age at death due to each cause was higher in male than female by 4-10 years. However, the mean age at death of the teachers was 2-5 years lower than that of the general population in all causes of death and the sex difference in the mean age at death was smaller (2-3 years) in general population. In sex ratio of mortality, male was higher than female in almost all diseases except suicide and maintained a high ratio. The general population showed universally high ratio in male like teachers, and more or less did regular patterns in mortality with ratio smaller.
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