Contrasts in Alcohol-Related Mortality in Czechia and Lithuania: Analysis of Time Trends and Educational Differences
Introduction and aims
Globally, Czechia and Lithuania are among the top-ranking countries in terms of high alcohol consumption. This study highlights notable contrasts in temporal trends in alcohol-related mortality and identifies country-specific patterns in educational differences.
Design and methods
The study uses harmonised cause-of-death series from the Human Cause of Death Database. Mortality disparities by education were assessed using census-linked mortality data. Directly standardised death rates were used to estimate levels of national and group-specific mortality. Relative and absolute mortality differences by education were assessed by range-type measures (Poisson regression mortality ratios and rate differences) and Gini-type measures.
Between 1994-1995 and 2016, the absolute difference between Czechia and Lithuania in terms of alcohol-related age-standardised death rates (per 1 000 000) decreased from 450 for males and 130 for females to 76 in males and 11 in females. In both countries, alcohol-related mortality was markedly higher among persons of lower education levels. Lithuanian males experienced the highest absolute inequalities measured by rate difference between the low and high educated (740 per million), while Lithuanian females showed the most pronounced relative inequalities (6.70-fold difference between low and high educated). The corresponding figures were less than half for Czechia.
Discussion and conclusions
Reducing educational disparities in alcohol-related mortality within both countries would have a substantial impact on overall levels. Policies aimed at targeting the lowest priced and illegal alcohols and reducing levels of harmful drinking should be a priority, especially in Lithuania.