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Global toll of injuries down by almost a third since 1990

Study published in Injury Prevention

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Global toll of injuries down by almost a third since 1990

The global toll taken by injuries has fallen by almost a third in the past quarter of a century, reveals research published online in the journal Injury Prevention. The findings prompt the researchers to conclude that “the world is becoming a safer place to live in.” David Rojas-Rueda, researcher at CREAL, an ISGlobal allied center, has participated in this study.

The World Bank commissioned the first Global Burden of Diseases and Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) study in the early 1990s. In subsequent updates, injury has emerged as a substantial cause of ill health and death in both the developing and developed world. As part of a global collaboration, the researchers mined the latest GBD update in 2013 to assess the impact of 26 causes of injury and 47 types of injury, for 188 countries of the world.

The researchers used data on the number of injuries, deaths from injuries, and a measure known as disability adjusted life years (DALY), that is calculated by adding together years of life lost to death, and years of life lived with a disability. In 2013, 973 million people sustained injuries that required medical attention/treatment, accounting for 10% of the global toll of disease. Major causes included car crashes, which made up 29% of the total, followed by self harm, which includes suicide (17.6%); falls (11.6%); and violence (8.5%). Among those whose injuries warranted some form of healthcare, just under 6% required admission to hospital. The largest category of injury requiring admission was fracture (38.5%). In almost all regions of the world, injury rates were higher in men than in women, until the age of 80, and almost 5 million people died of their injuries that remain an important cause of ill health and death.

The calculations show, but between 1990 and 2013, the global DALY, standardised for age, fell by almost a third (31%). This fall was significant for 22 of the 26 causes of injury, including all the major ones. But there were some variations, according to age, gender, geography, and time. For example, DALYs among the under 15s were lowest in Western Europe and highest in central SubSaharan Africa.

“These decreases in DALY rates for almost all cause of injury categories justify a general statement that the world is becoming a safer place to live in, although the injury burden remains high in some parts of the world,” concluded Rojas-Rueda.


Research: The global burden of injury: incidence, mortality, disability-adjusted life years and time trends from the Global Burden of Disease study 2013 doi 10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041616 Journal: Injury Prevention (BMJ)


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