Ethnic Differences in Drowning Rates in Ontario, Canada
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The scientific literature suggests ethnicity may be a risk factor for drowning. Ontario, Canada is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world. The objective of our study was to determine if Asians, Africans and Hispanics were at an increased risk of drowning compared to Greater Europeans. Ethnicity served as a surrogate for country of origin. Using Coroner’s reports, all unintentional drowning deaths in Ontario from 2004 to 2008 were reviewed. The ethnicity of drowning victims was estimated using a previously validated name-based ethnicity classifier. Age-standardized drowning rates were calculated by sex and place of residence (rural vs. non-rural) for people of each ethnicity group using the method of direct standardization. For residents of Ontario living in rural areas, the age-standardized drowning rate was significantly higher among men of Asian, African, or Hispanic ethnicity compared to men of Greater European ethnicity (RR 13.9; 95 % CI 8.1–23.8) and for women of Asian, African, or Hispanic ethnicity compared to women of Greater European ethnicity (RR 23.9; 95 % CI 6.4–89.1). These high-risk individuals need to be considered when developing drowning prevention strategies.
KeywordsDrowning Ethnicity Ontario Harm prevention Swimming Immigrant
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