Introduction Diseases fully attributable to alcohol consumption, as mental and behavioural disorders and alcoholic liver disease, are important causes of morbidity and mortality around the world, especially among men. Some studies show higher mortality rates among black people, but in Brazil there are discussions if this finding shows a real association with ethnicity or if socioeconomic status is the leading exposure.
Methods Mortality data and estimated resident population for all Brazilian territory, stratified by age, sex, ethnicity and years of formal education (surrogate for socioeconomic status) were obtained from the Brazilian Mortality Information System (SIM) for 2006. Age-standardised mortality rates were calculated by the direct method using the 2000 Brazilian population.
Results During 2006, 23 608 deaths were due exclusively to alcohol-attributable diseases in Brazil (2.4% of total deaths in the country). Men were 89.0% of subjects. Highest proportion of deaths was observed among people with less than 3 years of formal education. Black men with less than three years of formal education had the highest age-adjusted mortality rate (20.37 deaths/100 000 men), followed by black men with more than 3 years of education (11.04). Among white men the age-adjusted mortality rates were 8.43 and 8.57 for these levels of education, respectively. Black women with less formal education showed higher age-adjusted mortality rate (5.82) than black women with more years of formal education (2.59) and white women.
Conclusions Our findings suggest there are important differences in mortality rates related to education and ethnicity for men and women in Brazil.