After providing written informed consent, participants completed a clinic visit that included laboratory measurements, standardized physical examinations, and administration of questionnaires in English or Spanish.

All protocols were approved by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Multiple Institutional Review Board.

We hypothesized that cardiovascular disease mortality would be similar in the two ethnic groups.

To avoid bias, we had medical records reviewed and coded by a committee that was masked with regard to ethnicity for determination of cause of death.

In a review of New Mexico death certificates, nonspecific causes of death were more commonly assigned to Hispanics than to non-Hispanic Whites (24).

Ethnicity coding errors on death certificates may be more likely for Hispanic decedents than for non-Hispanic White decedents (25).

Received for publication August 23, 2001; accepted for publication June 21, 2002.

It has been reported that Hispanics have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors than non-Hispanic Whites, including type 2 diabetes (1–3), obesity (4, 5), lipid abnormalities (5), and lower levels of physical activity (4).Among persons with diabetes, it was 24.3/1,000 person-years in non-Hispanic Whites and 21.9/1,000 person-years in Hispanics.Among nondiabetics, the age-adjusted CVD mortality rate was 2.5/1,000 person-years in non-Hispanic Whites and 1.6/1,000 person-years in Hispanics.If any form of misclassification varies by ethnicity, ethnic comparisons of cause-specific mortality based on death certificates may be biased.This study reports on cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease mortality during 15 years of follow-up in a well-characterized cohort of 1,862 Hispanic and non-Hispanic White participants in the San Luis Valley Diabetes Study.Among diabetics, it was 12.9/1,000 person-years in non-Hispanic Whites and 8.8/1,000 person-years in Hispanics.