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CDC Reports Roughly 40 percent of Deaths can be Prevented

Update Date: May 02, 2014 10:44 AM EDT

A new report conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified five health conditions that are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all deaths that occur within the country every year. According to the CDC, at least one-third of these deaths could be prevented.

The report found that heart disease, lung disease, cancer, stroke and unintentional injuries were responsible for almost 900,000 deaths, or 63 percent, each year. Based on these five leading causes of death, the researchers analyzed the death rates in each state in people younger than 80 from 2008 to 2010. The CDC concluded that one of the best ways to reduce death rates from these diseases is to encourage and to get people to change their behaviors.

The researchers compared the states with the highest death rates to the states with the lowest ones and concluded that if the states worked to lower their numbers to match other states, 30 percent of deaths from heart disease, 40 percent of deaths from lung disease, around 20 percent of premature deaths from cancer, 30 percent of stroke deaths and 40 percent of deaths caused by unintentional injuries could be reduced.

"We have the biggest impact when we make the default choice the healthy choice, and that's what [the healthiest] states have done," Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC said according to FOX News. "Your longevity and health is more determined by your ZIP code than they are by your genetic code. We can make it easier for people to be physically active, to avoid tobacco and have access to healthy food, to get recommended clinical services such as blood pressure treatment and cancer checks."

CNN provided two examples of how communities could effectively help empower people to make changes in their lives. The first example is in San Francisco where public school playgrounds are now opened after school hours, which offer safe recreational places for 44,000 children to play in. These playgrounds keep children active and off the streets. The second example is in Broward County, FL where community-based programs help improve the safety and accessibility of different modes of transportation for around 700,000 residents.

The CDC stressed that if communities and cities start to adapt these programs, they can greatly help reduce death rates throughout the nation. The CDC report can be found here.

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