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Suicide, Not Car Crashes, #1 Cause of Injury Death
Suicide has overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S.
While public health efforts have curbed the number of car fatalities by 25% over the last decade, a new study shows suicide deaths rose by 15% during the same period.
In addition, deaths from unintentional poisoning and falls have also increased dramatically in recent years.
Researchers found deaths caused by accidental poisoning and falls increased by 128% and 71%, respectively.
In the study, researchers looked at cause of death data from the National Center for Health Statistics from 2000 to 2009.
“Contrasting with disease mortality, the injury mortality rate trended upward during most of that decade,” write the researchers.
The top five leading causes of injury-related deaths were:
Motor vehicle crashes
Researchers say the findings demonstrate that suicide is now a global public health issue.
“Our finding that suicide now accounts for more deaths than do traffic crashes echoes similar findings for the European Union, Canada, and China,” they write.
Suicide rates fluctuate with economic cycles, rising sharply during recessions and falling during expansions, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control. Published online in the American Journal of Public Health, the study, “Impact of Business Cycles on US Suicide Rates, 1928-2007,” found the greatest spike in suicides during economic downturns to be among 25-64 year olds, prime working ages. Researchers examined suicide data from nearly eight decades and among various age groups to determine relationships between incidences and business cycles. During the Great Depression, in 1929-1933, suicide rates jumped to over twenty percent, the highest levels ever reached during a four-year period, the findings showed. The widespread unemployment and devastating stock-market crash that toppled individual savings and nationwide investments lead to the longest and harshest depression of that century. Elevated suicide rates were also identified during the 1972-1975 Oil Crisis when an oil embargo caused skyrocketing gas prices and severe inflation. Similarly, the Double Dip Recession of 1980-1982 triggered suicides as the nation struggled with back-to-back losses in two quarters of 1980.