December 6, 2013
The recent news that Paul Walker, the star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series, was killed in a car crash has generated interest from the public into data on motor vehicle fatalities.
Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the main source of information about traffic accidents and fatalities in the U.S., the National Center for Health Statistics also tracks this leading cause of death as a standard part of its mortality data collection activities.
Motor vehicle-related deaths remain a significant cause of preventable death, accounting for about 34,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2011 for all age groups. It also accounted for nearly one out of five of injury deaths. The age-adjusted death rate for these injuries has recently begun to decrease — 3.6% from 11.1 per 100,000 population in 2009 to 10.7 in 2010.
Motor vehicle-related death rates are higher for males and females aged 15-24 than for most other age groups. For males and females aged 15-19, motor vehicle-related deaths declined 47% from 2000 to 2010. Motor vehicle-related deaths rates declined 31% for males aged 20-24 and 26% for females in the same age group during this 10-year period.
According to our National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, motor vehicle-related accidents resulted in over 3 percent of emergency department visits.
In terms of years of life lost, motor vehicle crashes rank third, behind only cancer and heart disease and account for approximately $99 billion in medical and lost work costs annually.
December 6, 2013
NCHS has released a Health E- Stat that gives a provisional count of birth in the United States. The provisional count of births in the U.S. for the 12-month period ending June 2013 was 3,941,000, which was not significantly different from the 3,944,000 births (provisional count) for the 12-month period ending June 2012 . The number of births has declined from the historic high of 4,316,233 in 2007. However, the decline has slowed from 2010 through 2011, and the number was essentially unchanged from 2011 through 2012.
December 5, 2013
NCHS has released a report that provides a comprehensive picture of pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes. Pregnancy rates for women in the United States continued to decline in 2009, reaching the lowest level in 12 years (102.1 per 1,000 women aged 15–44). This level is 12% below the 1990 peak (115.8). The estimated number of pregnancies dropped to 6,369,000 (4,131,000 live births, 1,152,000 induced abortions, and 1,087,000 fetal losses). The drop in birth rates since 2007 has been well documented. However, it is important to examine the other outcomes of pregnancy to understand the full scope of current reproductive trends.
Key Findings from the Report:
- The pregnancy rate for U.S. women in 2009 was 102.1 per 1,000 women aged 15–44, the lowest level in 12 years; only the 1997 rate of 101.6 has been lower in the last 30 years.
- Rates for women under age 30 fell during 1990–2009, while rates for women aged 30 and over increased.
- Rates for teenagers reached historic lows in 2009, including rates for the three major race and Hispanic origin groups.
- Pregnancy rates have declined about 10% each for married and unmarried women since 1990.
- The birth rate for married women was 72% higher than the rate for unmarried women; the abortion rate for unmarried women was almost five times higher than the rate for married women.
December 4, 2013
A new report released by NCHS provides the estimate of any psychotropic medication use in the past month among U.S. noninstitutionalized adolescents aged 12–19 during 2005–2010, using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. Psychotropic medication is a type of drug used to treat clinical psychiatric symptoms or mental disorders. Specific psychotropic drug types addressed are antidepressants; medications for attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD); anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics (ASH); antimanics; and antipsychotics. Adolescents using psychotropic drugs are further examined by sex, race and Hispanic origin, and mental health professional consultation.
Key Findings From the Report:
Approximately 6.0% of U.S. adolescents aged 12–19 reported psychotropic drug use in the past month.
- The use of antidepressants (3.2%) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) drugs (3.2%) was highest, followed by antipsychotics (1.0%); anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics (0.5%); and antimanics (0.2%).
- Males (4.2%) were more likely than females (2.2%) to use ADHD drugs. Females (4.5%) were more likely than males (2.0%) to use antidepressants.
- Psychotropic drug use was higher among non-Hispanic white (8.2%) adolescents than non-Hispanic black (3.1%) and Mexican-American (2.9%) adolescents.
- About one-half of U.S. adolescents using psychotropic drugs in the past month had seen a mental health professional in the past year (53.3%).
November 26, 2013
Drug overdose deaths are on the rise, and from 1999 to 2009 rural U.S. counties saw a larger jump in these drug-poisoning deaths than their urban counterparts. While the highest death rates were seen in central metropolitan areas during this period, the rate grew by 394% in rural counties compared to a 279% spike for large urban metro areas.
Throughout the United States, the drug-poisoning death rate increased 300% over the past three decades, and is now the leading cause of injury death in the United States. About 90% of poisoning deaths are attributed to illicit or legal drugs, and prescription drugs account for the majority of drug overdose deaths.
All of this and more is presented in a new study that takes a look at drug overdose deaths in the United States — county by county.
The study was undertaken and penned by three National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) researchers in Hyattsville, Maryland. You can find their work, “Trends and Geographic Patterns in Drug-Poisoning Death Rates in the U.S., 1999-2009,” in the December 2013 edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. At NCHS, we’ve produced a number of reports on this topic — “Drug Poisoning Deaths in the United States, 1980-2008,” and “Increase in Fatal Poisonings Involving Opioid Analgesics in the United States, 1999-2006,” — but these earlier reports focused on state death rates. The new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine is the first to examine drug poisoning mortality on the county level. It’s this type of county mapping that can enhance efforts to bring preventive programs to geographic areas that could benefit most.
November 20, 2013
Assisted living and similar residential care communities provide an alternative to nursing homes for individuals with dementia who can no longer live independently.
In 2010, about 42% of individuals living in residential care communities had Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Individuals with dementia can live in residential care communities that have dementia special care units, or in a more traditional setting where these residents are integrated with residents without dementia. Many states require residential care communities with dementia special care units to have certain physical features (e.g., locked door) and specially trained staff to care for residents with dementia.
NCHS has put out a new report that compares residential care communities with and without dementia special care units.
Key Findings from the Report:
- In 2010, 17% of residential care communities had dementia special care units.
- Beds in dementia special care units accounted for 13% of all residential care beds.
- Residential care communities with dementia special care units were more likely than those without to have more beds, be chain-affiliated, and be purposely built as a residential care community, and less likely to be certified or registered to participate in Medicaid.
- Residential care communities with dementia special care units were more likely than those without to be located in the Northeast and in a metropolitan statistical area, and less likely to be in the West.
November 14, 2013
High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Nearly 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack and the costs of coronary heart disease alone costs the U.S. over $100 billion annually. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
Although cholesterol levels may be reduced by dietary modifications and increased physical activity, these lifestyle changes are often difficult to maintain or not sufficiently effective. In those cases, or for persons with other risk factors for heart disease, the use of cholesterol-lowering medications is often suggested.
Widespread belief in the value of drug therapy to lower cholesterol—and consequently to reduce mortality from heart disease—began with the introduction of statin drugs in 1987 and published studies that proved their effectiveness. There are several classes of cholesterol-lowering drugs, but statins have become the drug class of choice because of their demonstrated efficacy and safety.
From 1988–1994 to 2005–2008, the use of statin drugs by adults 45 years of age and over increased 10-fold, from 2% to 25%. There was a concurrent decline in the percentage of Americans with high serum total cholesterol (greater than or equal to 240 mg/dL) over this time period, which may be attributable to increased use of cholesterol-lowering medications, especially statins.
Both men and women are increasingly taking statin drugs. However, in 2005–2008 one-half of men 65–74 years of age took a statin drug in the past 30 days, compared with just over one-third of women in that age group.