MHLU - Health Status Resource

Leading Causes of Death

Leading Causes of Death

Key Findings: 
  • The top ten leading causes of death between 2005 and 2007 were chronic diseases. These accounted for about one half of all deaths. The remaining causes of death each constituted less than 2% of all causes.
  • The top four leading causes of death were the same for Middlesex-London, Ontario and the Peer Group, namely ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, cerebrovascular diseases including stroke, and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, in that order (Fig. 3.6).
  • Ischemic heart disease, the leading cause of death, had more than twice as many deaths as lung cancer, the second leading cause of death (Fig. 3.6).
  • Deaths due to colorectal cancer and breast cancer both ranked higher among the leading causes in Middlesex-London compared to Ontario or the Peer Group (Fig. 3.6).

Males Versus Females

  • The top ten leading causes of death for males and females were primarily chronic diseases.  The one exception was suicide, which was the 10th leading cause of death in males (Fig. 3.7).
  • Ischemic heart disease, the leading cause of death for both males and females accounted for a slightly higher proportion of deaths among males than females (Fig. 3.7).
  • Lung cancer was the 2nd leading cause of death for males and the 4th leading cause for females. For females, deaths due to lung cancer were slightly more common than deaths due to breast cancer (Fig. 3.7).
  • Deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were more common in females (2nd leading cause of death) than in males (6th leading cause) ( Fig. 3.7).
  • Age Groups

  • The leading causes of death for children in the youngest age group were perinatal conditions and birth defects (Fig. 3.8).
  • The leading cause of death for both girls and boys aged 11 to 19 was motor vehicle collisions (Fig. 3.8).
  • Young to middle-aged adults aged 20-44 died most frequently due to suicide, followed by breast cancer and motor vehicle collisions for females and motor vehicle collisions and unintentional injuries for males (Fig 3.9). 
  • The leading causes of death for middle-aged adults aged 45-64 were primarily chronic diseases with the exception of suicide for males. For females in this age group, this includes lung cancer and breast cancer, followed by ischemic heart disease. For males in this age group, this includes ischemic heart disease, distantly followed by lung cancer and colorectal cancer (Fig. 3.10).
  • The leading causes of death for seniors aged 65 and older were chronic diseases, consisting of heart disease, stroke, dementia, lower respiratory diseases, urinary system diseases, diabetes and selected cancers, namely lung, breast, prostate and colorectal (Fig. 3.11).
  • The leading causes of death in Middlesex County and the City of London were similar (Fig. 3.12).  
  • A higher proportion of the deaths in the County compared to the City were cardiovascular related (Fig. 3.12). 
Interpretive Notes

The categories used for leading causes of death are based on a standard list derived by Becker (ref) at al using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems tenth revision (ICD-10). They are ranked to demonstrate and compare the most frequently occurring causes out of the total number of deaths in a population. The number of deaths presented is the average number per year during this time period.

How this Indicator was Calculated: 
Ontario Public Health Standard: 

Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol - Section 1, Subsections b-ii

Jargon Explained

Perinatal conditions 

Conditions which originate in the perinatal period, i.e. the period immediately before, during and after birth. 

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