Preventable causes of death

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The World Health Organization has traditionally classified death according to the primary type of disease or injury. However, causes of death may also be classified in terms of preventable risk factors—such as smoking, unhealthy diet,sexual behavior,and reckless dirving—which contribute to a number of different diseases. Such risk factors are usually not recorded directly on death certificates.[1]

Worldwide

It is estimated that of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds—100,000 per day—die of age-related causes because they have aged.[2] In industrialized nations the proportion is much higher, reaching 90%.[2] Thus, albeit indirectly, biological aging (senescence) is by far the leading cause of death. Whether senescence as a biological process itself can be slowed down, halted, or even reversed is a subject of current scientific speculation and research.[3]

2001 figures

Leading causes of preventable death worldwide as of the year 2001, according to researchers working with the Disease Control Priorities Network (DCPN)[4] and the World Health Organization (WHO).[5] (The WHO's 2008 statistics show very similar trends.)

Cause Number of deaths resulting (millions per year)
Hypertension 7.8
Smoking tobacco 5.4
Malnutrition 3.8
Sexually transmitted diseases 3.0
Poor diet 2.8
Overweight and obesity 2.5
Physical inactivity 2.0
Alcohol 1.9
Indoor air pollution from solid fuels 1.8
Unsafe water and poor sanitation 1.6

In 2001, on average 29,000 children died of preventable causes each day (that is, about 20 deaths per minute). The authors provide the context:

United States

The three most common preventable causes of death in the population of the United States are smoking, high blood pressure, and being overweight.[6]

Accidental death

Annual number of deaths and causes

Cause Number Percent of total Notes
Preventable medical errors in hospitals 210,000 to 448,000 [9] 23.1% Estimates vary, significant numbers of preventable deaths also result from errors outside of hospitals.
Smoking tobacco 435,000 [7] 18.1%
Being overweight and obesity 111,909 [10] 4.6% There was considerable debate about the differences in the numbers of obesity-related diseases. The numbers reported in the referenced article have been found to be the most accurate.[11]
Alcohol 85,000 [7] 3.5%
Infectious diseases 75,000 [7] 3.1%
Toxic agents including toxins, particulates and radon 55,000 [7] 2.3%
Traffic collisions 43,000 [7] 1.8%
Preventable colorectal cancers 41,400 1.7% Colorectal cancer (bowel cancer, colon cancer) caused 51,783 deaths in the US in 2011.[12] About 80 percent[13] of colorectal cancers begin as benign growths, commonly called polyps, which can be easily detected and removed during a colonoscopy. Accordingly, the tabulated figure assumes that 80% of the fatal cancers could have been prevented.
Firearms deaths 31,940 [14] 1.3% Suicide: 19,766; homicide: 11,101; Accidents: 852; Unknown: 822
Sexually transmitted infections 20,000 [7] 0.8%
Drug abuse 17,000 [7] 0.7%

Among children worldwide

Various injuries are the leading cause of death in children 9–17 years of age. The top five worldwide unintentional injuries in children are as follows:[15]

Leading causes of death by injury among children worldwide.[15]
Cause Number of deaths resulting
Traffic collision

260,000 per year

Drowning

175,000 per year

Burns

96,000 per year

Falls

47,000 per year

Toxins

45,000 per year

See also

References

  1. "Preventable causes of death in North Carolina" (PDF). N C Med J. 63 (4): 196. 2002. PMID 12970957.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  3. "SENS Foundation".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "DCP3". washington.edu.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (April 27, 2009). "Smoking, high blood pressure and being overweight top three preventable causes of death in the U.S." The President and Fellows of Harvard College. Retrieved 2015-05-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  8. 8.0 8.1 National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 50, No. 15, September 16, 2002 as compiled at [1]
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  10. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  11. "Controversies in Obesity Mortality: A Tale of Two Studies" (PDF). RTI International. Retrieved 2014-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Colorectal Cancer Statistics". Retrieved January 12, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Carol A. Burke; Laura K. Bianchi. "Colorectal Neoplasia". Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved January 12, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011" (PDF). CDC. Retrieved 2014-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 "BBC NEWS | Special Reports | UN raises child accidents alarm". BBC News. December 10, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>