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Trends in Unintentional Injury Deaths, U.S., 1999–2005

Age, Gender, and Racial/Ethnic Differences
  • Guoqing Hu
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, China
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  • Susan P. Baker
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Susan P. Baker, MPH, Center for Injury Research and Policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore MD 21205
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
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      Background

      The details hidden within the recent increase (1999–2004) in unintentional injury mortality have not been studied.

      Purpose

      The objectives were to analyze the trends in mortality rates from unintentional injuries from 1999 to 2005 and identify changes in rates for specific population subgroups.

      Methods

      Mortality data came from the CDC's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System. Trends during 1999–2005 were analyzed by cause, gender, race, age group, and state separately. Annual percent changes in rates and linear regression were used to measure the increase from 1999 to 2005 and examine its significance. The data were analyzed in 2008.

      Results

      Overall unintentional injury mortality in the U.S. increased by 1.8/100,000 per year from 1999 to 2005, rising from 35.3/100,000 in 1999 to 39.0 in 2005. Total unintentional injury mortality increased significantly in whites only, a 2% increase per year for white men/boys and a 2.8% increase for white women/girls (p<0.05). Poisoning mortality increased significantly in adults of all racial groups. Subgroup analyses revealed that the increases in total unintentional injury mortality among whites were mainly the result of increases in falls in adults aged ≥45 years and poisoning in people aged 15–64 years. Large state-specific differences in trends were observed for these two causes. In addition, the increases in death rates from unintentional suffocation in white children aged <5 years, motor-vehicle crashes in whites aged 45–64 years, and drowning and fire/burns in white women aged 45–54 years were large and significant (p<0.05).

      Conclusions

      Specific subgroups of whites have recently experienced the most marked increases in fatal unintentional injuries, including falls, poisoning, motor-vehicle crashes, suffocation, fire/burns, and drowning. These increases merit further attention from researchers and policymakers.
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