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|1. In what ways has
mortality changed in HK since 1900?
From the chart of mortality in HK for 1912, 1948 and 1999 (slide 14) we can see that the change has been from acute, mainly infectious diseases, to chronic, degenerative conditions.
The chart of life expectancy (slide 15) is misleading, because it represent the average number of years of life expectancy at birth. Averages are disproportionately affected by extreme scores. The apparent gains in years of life expectancy reflect a drop in deaths among children, mostly in the 0-5 years age group. The high proportions of deaths in these groups up to the early to mid 19th Century pulled the average years of expected life down quite sharply. Once childhood mortality began to fall, the average years of life expectancy increased, more closely reflecting the life expectancy of those who managed to survive the vulnerable years of childhood. In fact, the life expectancy for a male aged 40 has increased only by about 3-5 years over the past 100 years. Smaller families, and from the post-WWI years onwards, gradual improvements in maternal care, have helped reduced maternal-related mortality , the major cause of premature death among women in the UK up to and during the 19th Century.