Geospatial Relationship between Altitude and Mortality in India

  • Hsiao C. Y.
  • Jha P.
  • Gambhir S.
  • Fu S. H.


High altitude environmental stressors have numerous and varied physiological effects on human health. Yet few analyses have investigated the influence of high altitude in resident populations over a large extent. In this study a preliminary analysis of the association between altitude and mortality in India was conducted. The assessment of mortality rates at different altitudes integrated geospatial concepts through a Geographic Information System (GIS) and Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Furthermore, surveyed health data was obtained from the Million Death Study (MDS) and the Special Fertility and Mortality Survey (SFMS) datasets. The statistical analysis reveals that all-cause mortality rate has no significant association with altitudes. However, it shows a positive correlation between altitude and prematurity and low birth weight mortality rate in neonates. Additionally, higher drinking rates for males were found at greater altitude. The preliminary results confirmed the relationship between particular mortality rate and altitude in India, but further investigations need to assess the total effect of altitude on mortality.