Purpose: To examine the association between skin color and all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related mortality risk before and after adjusting for selected characteristics and risk factors, we used data on 5,304 men with information on skin color at Exam 3 of the Puerto Rico Heart Health program (PRHHP), a longitudinal study of the incidence of coronary heart disease in Puerto Rican men. Methods: Mortality was ascertained using hospital and physician records, postmortem records, death certificates, and information from the next of kin. Results: Dark-skinned men exhibited higher age-adjusted mortality rates than light skinned men (10.1 vs. 8.8/10,000 population). There was no association between skin color and all-cause and CVD-related mortality. However, the association between skin color and all-cause mortality varied with area of residence (p for interaction = 0.05). Among men living in urban areas, the risk of all-cause mortality was 28% (95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.61) greater among dark-skinned men than their light-skinned counterparts after adjusting for age, education, BMI, physical activity, and the presence of diabetes. There was no association between skin color and CVD mortality in urban men. Neither all-cause nor CVD mortality was associated with skin color among rural men. Conclusion: Our results suggest that skin color may be capturing environmental dynamics that may influence mortality risk among Puerto Rican men.
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