Indiana Releases Injury Report

State health officials announced the release of the 2003-2006 data report on unintentional and intentional injuries in Indiana.

Injuries can result in trauma, possible lifelong disabilities, or even death. In Indiana, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death among persons 1 to 34 years-of-age and the fifth leading cause of death overall following heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), and chronic lower respiratory disease.

Unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death for Hoosiers. Indiana’s death rate for all injuries was 58.1 per 100,000, or a total of 14,646 lives lost. More than half of the unintentional injuries were a result of motor vehicle crashes, poisonings and falls. For children, adolescents, and adults aged 1 to 74, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death. But the fatality rates and hospitalization rates are highest for persons over 75, where falls are the top source for unintentional injuries.

“Injury is a significant cause of death and a major public health problem,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., medical director for Injury Prevention at the State Department of Health. “The estimated economic impact of injury is also significant, accounting for about ten percent of total medical expenditures nationwide.”

Dr. Duwve says that many injuries are preventable. In the pediatric population, close supervision of children is one way to reduce the number of injuries. Senior citizens can take steps such as installing grab bars in their showers, or removing throw rugs from their houses to prevent falls at home.

A major step the state is initiating to address the problem of injuries, is the Training Education Advances and Collaboration and Health on Violent Injury Prevention (TEACH VIP). TEACH VIP, developed by the World Health Organization, is a comprehensive injury prevention and control curriculum. The four-day course begins on Sept. 29, and is designed to meet the national injury core compentencies. The first course will educate health care professionals, whose practice focuses on injury prevention from around the state on basic principles of injury prevention, program planning and evaluation, and dissemination and communication of injury prevention data. The ultimate plan is to have TEACH VIP classes annually.

Other highlights from the report include:

* From 2003-2006, 6.6 percent of all deaths in Indiana were caused by injury

* Males were 2.2 times as likely as females to be fatally injured

* Blacks were 1.3 times as likely as whites to be fatally injured

* In Indiana, the leading cause of unintentional death under age 1 was suffocation including SIDS and rollovers

* Motor vehicle injuries were the leading cause of unintentional fatality between the ages of 1 and 74.

* In the over 75 population, falls were the leading cause of unintentional death

In addition, injury fatalities caused by intentional acts, such as homicide or suicide were among the top four causes of death in Indiana in all age groups from age 5 to 54

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