Background: Several studies have established a relationship between temperature and mortality. In particular, older populations have been shown to be vulnerable to temperature effects. However, little information exists on the temperature-mortality relationship in Vietnam.
Objectives: This article aims to examine the monthly temperature-mortality relationship among older people in Hanoi, Vietnam, over the period between 2005 and 2010, and estimate seasonal patterns in mortality.
Methods: We employed Generalized Additive Models, including smooth functions, to model the temperature-mortality relationships. A quasi-Poisson distribution was used to model overdispersion of death counts. Temporal trends, seasonality, and population size were adjusted for while estimating changes in monthly mortality over the study period. A cold month was defined as a month with a mean temperature below 19°C.
Results: This study found that the high peak of mortality coincided with low temperatures in the month of February 2008, during which the mean temperature was the lowest in the whole study period. There was a significant relationship between mean monthly temperature and mortality among the older people (p<0.01). Overall, there was a significant decrease in the number of deaths in the year 2009 during the study period. There was a 21% increase in the number of deaths during the cold season compared to the warm season. The increase in mortality during the cold period was higher among females compared to males (female: IRR [incidence relative risk] =1.23; male: IRR=1.18).
Conclusions: Cold temperatures substantially increased mortality among the older population in Hanoi, Vietnam, and there were gender differences. Necessary preventive measures are required to mitigate temperature effects with greater attention to vulnerable groups.
Keywords: Vietnam; mortality; older; temperature.