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The Raised Incidence of Winter Deaths: Occasional Paper No. 7


Bowie, N., & Jackson, G.

Subject Keywords: Seasonal variations in Scottish mortality levels
Topic: Cardiovascular Health (Draft)
Fuel Poverty
Fuel Poverty
Chronic Conditions
Type: Website
Region: Scotland

This short paper presents selected information, mainly in graphical form, that illustrates seasonal variations in Scottish mortality levels. In particular it focuses on measures of what has become known as 'excess winter mortality'. As well as covering information on selected broad cause of death categories, it gives specific consideration to deaths involving hypothermia and influenza. Key points to emerge include the following: Mortality rates are markedly higher in winter months than summer months. There are indications that measures of this 'excess winter mortality' have been relatively high in Scotland (and the rest of the UK) when compared with many countries with more extreme winter climates, although further research on this is needed. The term 'excess winter deaths' is potentially misleading as it may wrongly be interpreted as a precise number of avoidable deaths. 'Excess winter mortality' is particularly pronounced for the elderly. Deaths from hypothermia are relatively rare - they do not represent a significant part of 'excess winter mortality'. Deaths where influenza has been mentioned on the death certificate are also relatively infrequent, however there is a very strong relationship between the numbers of deaths from all causes and measures of influenza activity. Additional winter deaths are particularly associated with respiratory and circulatory diseases.



Rights: © General Register Office for Scotland
Suggested citation:

Bowie, N., & Jackson, G.. (2002) The Raised Incidence of Winter Deaths: Occasional Paper No. 7 [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 19th September 2019].


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