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Traffic Accidents Are Top Cause of Teen Deaths

More Than a Third of U.S. Teenage Deaths Are Due to Motor Vehicle Accidents
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 5, 2010 -- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for America's teenagers, accounting for more than a third of fatalities in this age group every year, the CDC says in a new report.

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) says that 48% of deaths in youngsters 12 to 19 are caused by unintentional injuries. Of these injuries, 73% are caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Other leading causes of teenage deaths are homicide (13%), suicide (11%), cancer (6%), and heart disease (3%).

Other major findings reported in the report:

  • An average of 16,375 youths 12 through 19 died annually in the U.S. from 1999 to 2006. That's less than 1% of all deaths in the U.S. annually.
  • Among teens, non-Hispanic African-American males have the highest death rate, 94.1 per 100,000, compared to 49.5 per 100,000 for all teens.
  • Homicide is the leading cause of death for non-Hispanic African-American male teenagers.
  • Male teens are more likely to die than females at every single year between 12 and 19, and older teens are at higher risk of dying than younger ones. At age 12, for instance, the death rate for males is 20.2 per 100,000, compared to 13.8 per 100,000 for females.
  • At age 19, the death rate for males of 135.2 per 100,000 is almost three times the 46.1 per 100,000 rate for females.
  • Starting at age 12, and ending at 19, the death rate among teenage males increases 32%, on average, for every additional year of age. For females, the death rate increases 19.5 % for every additional year of age.

The report says non-Hispanic African-American teens are 37% more likely to die than Hispanic and non-Hispanic white teenagers.

Other findings of the report:

  • The death rate for non-Hispanic African-American teenagers is 64.5 per 100,000, compared with 47.1 per 100,000 for Hispanic and 47 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic white teenagers.
  • Among males and females, the death rate for non-Hispanic African-American male teens is highest.
  • The death rate for non-Hispanic African-American male teens is 94.1 per 100,000, compared to 62 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic whites and 68 per 100,000 for Hispanics.
  • The report says African-American males are disproportionately affected by homicide, which is the leading cause of death for non-Hispanic African-American male teens. The risk of dying from homicide for non-Hispanic African-American teenagers is 39.2 per 100,000, compared to 17.1 per 100,000 for Hispanic males and 2.6 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic white males.
  • For girls, the homicide rate is six per 100,000 for non-Hispanic African-Americans, one per 100,000 for non-Hispanic whites, and two per 100,000 for Hispanics, the CDC report says.

 

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