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Injuries and Violence in the United States
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Injury and Violence Prevention in the U.S.


Nationally, and in every state in the U.S., injuries and violence are the leading cause of death in the first 44 years of a person's life.

 

"Injury is probably the most under-recognized public health threat facing the nation today.” - The National Academy of Science, 1998 

 


The Burden of Injuries and Violence

Injuries and violence are significant public health problems limiting the ability of Americans to live to their full potential. Injuries and violence cause premature death and disability, and place a significant burden on Americans. More than 170,000 people die due to injuries and violence each year.[1]Millions more are injured and survive, only to cope with lifelong disabilities. In fact, each year, nearly 30 million people are treated for injuries in U.S. emergency departments as a result of injuries and violence. [2]Injuries and violence account for over 35% of emergency department visits annually. Hospital emergency departments treat an average of 55 people every minute due to injuries and violence.

 


Injury Deaths Compared to Other Leading Causes of Death for Persons Ages 1-44, United States, 2007*


The Costs of Injuries and Violence

The financial costs of injuries and violence are staggering. In a single year, injuries and violence will ultimately cost the U.S. $406 billion. This includes over $80 billion in medical costs (6% of total health expenditures) and $326 billion in lost productivity.[3]

 

Preventing Injuries and Violence

When a public health approach is applied to the problems of injuries and violence, in most cases these events can be prevented. Strategies for injuries and violence prevention focus primarily on environmental design, human behavior, education, and legislative and regulatory requirements that support environmental and behavioral change.

 

Prevention is extremely cost-effective, and it is imperative innovative and effective injury and violence prevention programs are in place to prevent premature deaths throughout the U.S., particularly among vulnerable populations of children, young families, and older adults. Click the image below to download the Injury Prevention Fact Sheet. 

  

 

Injury and Violence Prevention Topic Areas

Professionals working in injury and violence prevention work in a variety of areas including, but not limited to:

 

  • Assault & Homicide
  • Fires & Burns
  • Bullying
  • Motor Vehicle Safety
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Pedestrian & Bike Safety
  • Child Passenger Safety
  • Poisonings
  • Disaster Response
  • Sexual Assault & Rape
  • Domestic & Intimate Partner Violence (including Teen Dating Violence)
  • Smart Growth & Community Design
  • Drowning
  • Suicide & Self-Inflicted Injuries
  • Elder Abuse
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Falls
  • Youth Violence
  • Firearm Safety

 

Successes in Injuries and Violence Prevention

Public health efforts to prevent injuries and violence have been highly successful. Nearly 240,000 lives were saved between 1966 and 1990 because of improved motor vehicle and highway design, increased use of safety belts and motorcycle helmets, and the enforcement of laws regarding drinking and driving and speeding.[4]Similar results are possible with other types of injuries. By making sound policy decisions and investing more resources in injury and violence prevention programs and services, these programs can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of all Americans. 



 *Note: Injury includes unintentional injury, homicide, suicide, legal intervention, and those of undetermined intent. Non-communicable diseases include cancer, cardiovascular, kidney, respiratory, liver, diabetes, and other diseases. Infectious diseases include HIV, influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Data Source: National Vital Statistics System using CDC Wonder (http://wonder.cdc.gov/). 

 

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) cited August 31, 2008. Available from URL: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.

 

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed online August 31, 2008, from www.cdc.gov/ncipc/about/about.htm.

 

[3]Finkelstein EA, Corso PS, Miller TR, Associates. Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006.

 

[4]Safe States Alliance. Safe States, 2003 Edition. Atlanta (GA): State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association; 2003.


 

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