Federal health officials recently took on the undoubtedly depressing task of calculating how many years of potential life among young people were lost due to accidental injuries.
The straightforward answer: about 890 years for every 100,000 people aged 19 or younger.
The analysis was carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and appears in the most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It found that between 2000 and 2009, 115,613 children and teens died, which comes out to annual average death toll of about 12,000.
The CDC also came up with a profile of the most at-risk youth. According to the agency, the kids and teens who are more likely to die from an unintentional injury are:
– Less than a year old or between 15 and 19 years old
– American Indian or Alaska Native
– From Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Montana, Wyoming or South Dakota
Some other findings from the report:
– Teens aged between 15 and 19 saw 1,768 years of potential life lost for every 100,000 youth.
– After American Indian/Alaska Native, black people saw the highest life-loss rate, with 1,194 potential years of life lost per 100,000 youth.
– The years of potential life lost rate was highest for vehicular accidents: 491 years for every 100,000 youth. Suffocation and drowning garnered dubious second- and third-place distinctions, respectively.
In addition to the more common causes of death in these situations – drowning, suffocation, falls, fires, burns, poisoning, traffic accidents – the CDC also accounted for all other manner of unintentional injuries: cuts, piercings, machinery accidents, overexertion and the mysteriously-termed "unspecified."
If you're looking for something resembling a bright side in all of this, look to the Golden State, where the average years of potential life lost number 612 for every 100,000 youth. That's well below the national average of 890 and Mississippi's average of 1,770 – but still higher than Massachusetts' average of 416.
Photo by San Diego Shooter via Flickr Creative Commons.