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Injuries and Violence are Leading Causes of Death in Young Adults

Update Date: Jul 02, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

Injuries and violence are the two leading causes of death in young American adults, a new study reported. According to the researchers, injuries and violence can be tied to 80 percent of the deaths recorded in people aged 30 and younger.

In this study, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the researchers examined the effects of injuries, intended and unintended, and violence on death rates and health care costs in 2010. The team found that during that year, the leading causes of death in young people were unintentional injury, suicide and homicide. There were 31.2 million unintentional and violence-linked nonfatal injuries, which cost over $500 billion in both medical care and lost in productivity.

"Nearly 180,000 people of all ages in the U.S. die every year from injury and violence -- that's one death every three minutes," said lead author Tamara Haegerich, a researcher in CDC's division of unintentional injury prevention reported by Philly. "Injuries and violence are not inevitable - they can be prevented."

Overall, the researchers found that the top five causes for all ages were motor-vehicle accidents, poisoning, falls, firearm suicides and firearm homicides. The number of deaths by suicide was doubled the number of deaths caused by homicides at 38,364 to 16,259. Men were four times more likely to take their own lives than women were. Homicide rates were the highest in African Americans. Injuries alone were responsible for 80 percent of deaths in young adults. The remaining 20 percent could be attributed to chronic diseases and infections. The researchers and experts stressed the importance of adopting programs that can help prevent injuries, particularly those caused by firearms or vehicle accidents.

"When prevention strategies are used, they are effective, but some measures get lost in political infighting," Dr. Leopoldo Malvezzi, the trauma director at Miami Children's Hospital in Florida, commented. "This country has the biggest number of firearm-related deaths. No other civilized country has this kind of number."

The study was published in The Lancet.

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