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Major cities often the safest places in the US, Penn Medicine study finds
Date:7/22/2013

the increased rate of suicide death in rural areas only reached statistical significance for the two youngest age groups: 0-14 years and 15-19 years.

However, the magnitude of homicide- and suicide-related deaths, even in urban areas, is far outweighed by the magnitude of unintentional-injury deaths such as those from car crashes and falls in nonurban areas, especially in rural areas. Specifically, the rate of unintentional-injury death is over 15 times that of homicide for the entire population and the risk of unintentional-injury death is 40 percent higher in the nation's most rural counties compared to the most urban.

The research team found that the bulk of unintentional injury deaths result from motor vehicle crashes, with motor vehicle injury-related deaths occurring at a rate that is more than 1.4 times higher than the next leading mechanism of injury death. In rural areas, this difference is even more pronounced, where motor vehicle injury-related death rates are twice that of the next leading injury mechanism. Across the rural-urban continuum, the risk of motor vehicle-related injury death is 2 times more likely in rural areas as compared to the most urban.

"We think our work serves as a reminder that injury is an important health issue for Americans, wherever they live. Our findings can inform both targeted prevention efforts and strategic efforts to improve trauma care in the U.S. This work provides a real opportunity to build systems of medical care that are positioned to best care for the populations that depend upon them for life and limb saving treatment in their time of need," said senior study author, Brendan G. Carr, MD, MSHP, assistant professor Emergency Medicine and Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Penn.

The researchers note that next steps in this line of research should focus on creating local injury priority scores a relatively simple and objective tool that uses data available in trauma cent
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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu
215-796-4829
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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