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Car Crashes Leading Cause of Teen Deaths in U.S.
Date:5/5/2010

But CDC report finds murder, suicide and illnesses also kill many teens

WEDNESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- Of the more than 16,000 teenagers who die in the United States each year, most are killed in automobile accidents, but murder, suicide, cancer and heart disease also take their toll, a new government report finds.

In fact, among black male teens, homicide is the leading cause of death, said report author Arialdi M. Minino, a statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

"This is a group of people we don't pay much attention to when we talk about mortality," Minino said. Teen deaths account for less than 1 percent of all deaths per year in the United States, he noted.

Still, Minino thinks that more needs to be done to cut the number of teenage deaths.

"These are preventable causes of death," he said. "So, this is a group where we can extend ourselves so kids won't die, by extending common sense ideas."

Each year in the United States, an estimated 16,375 children between the ages of 12 and 19 die. Nearly 50 percent die in accidents, with car crashes accounting for more than one-third of all deaths, Minino found.

But among black male teens, murder is the leading cause of death. Moreover, the highest teen death rate is among black males at 94.1 deaths per 100,000 people. "That's 50 times more than among white males. That's a very large disparity," Minino said.

The leading causes of death among teens stayed the same during the period studied, Minino noted. Accidents accounted for 48 percent of deaths; homicide, 13 percent; suicide, 11 percent; cancer, 6 percent; and heart disease, 3 percent.

In addition, from 1999 to 2006, the annual death rate for teens has remained constant, at about 49.5 deaths per 100,000 population, Minino said.

But the risk of dying is not the same for all teenagers. B
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