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Carnegie Mellon Researchers Develop Novel Tool to Rank Death Rates
Date:8/26/2009

dying in the next year. By age 40, the risk is three times greater; by age 60, it is 16 times greater; and by age 80, it is 100 times greater (around 1 in 20 or 5 percent). "The risks are higher, but still not that bad," Gerard said. "At 80, the average U.S. woman still has a 95 percent chance of making it to her 81st birthday."

When it comes to dying within the year, it turns out there are dramatic differences between comparative groups:

  • For every age group, men have a much higher annual death risk than women. For 20 year olds, the risk is 2.5 to three times greater. Men are much more prone to accidents, homicides and suicides, and the risk of dying from heart disease is always higher for men than women, peaking in the 50s when men are 2.5 times at greater risk of dying. However, women's cancer risks are actually higher than men's in their 30s and 40s.
  • For heart disease and cancer, U.S. blacks have a much higher death risk than U.S. whites. Overall, blacks in their 30s and 40s are twice as likely to die within the year as their white counterparts. Only for suicides, do whites consistently exceed blacks, where whites typically have two to three times greater chances of dying.
  • For 20-year-old males, 80 percent of their death risks are from accidents, homicides and suicides. By age 50, however, these causes make up less than 10 percent and heart disease is No. 1, accounting for more than 30 percent of all deaths.
  • People living in Western Europe have a greater risk of dying from breast and prostate cancer than people living in the United States, but people in the United States have a greater chance of dying from lung cancer than people living in Western Europe.
  • Obesity-related death risks are much higher in the United States than in Europe. For example, the annual diabetes death risk in the United States is three times that found in northern Europe for 60 year olds.
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