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Ranking regional drowning mortality rates: population-based versus aquatic area-based rate
  1. Chien-Hsing Wang1,
  2. Wan-Hua Hsieh2,
  3. Jo-Chi Lee3,
  4. Hsin-Min Wu3,
  5. Tsung-Hsueh Lu3
  1. 1Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery and Trauma Center, Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, Hualien, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Public Health, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
  3. 3NCKU Research Center for Health Data, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tsung-Hsueh Lu, Department of Public Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, No. 1, Dah Hsueh Road, Tainan 701, Taiwan; robertlu{at}


Population, the most often used denominator in calculating drowning mortality rate, might not be a good measure of risk exposure. In this study, we sought to compare the rankings of township drowning mortality according to population-based rates with those according to aquatic area-based rates in Taitung County, Taiwan. The township with the highest mortality rate using population as the denominator (deaths per 100 000 persons) was Changbin (32.3) followed by Lanyu (22.4), Donghe (19.6) and Chenggong (18.0). On the other hand, the township with the leading mortality rate using aquatic area as the denominator (deaths per 100 000 km2) was Lanyu (353) followed by Lyudao (307), Chenggong (282) and Taitung City (219). Taitung City ranked 10th according to the population-based rate, but ranked 4th according to the aquatic area-based rate. In conclusion, rankings of regional drowning mortality rates using aquatic area as the denominator differ from those using population as the denominator.

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  • C-HW and W-HH are co-first authors.

  • Contributors C-HW, W-HH and T-HL conceived the study, guided the analyses and wrote the article draft. J-CL and H-MW collected and analysed the data and critically revised the draft. C-HW and T-HL are the guarantors of the study.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan with grant numbers MOST 104-2314-B-006-096 and MOST104-2627-M-006-008.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Institutional Review Boards of Chi-Mei Medical Center (10406-003) and Tzu Chi Hospital (104-67-B).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.