Firearms: the leading cause of years of potential life lost

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Traumatic injuries remain the leading cause of death in the US for people up to the age of 46, with car crashes the single largest cause of premature death. 

Firearm deaths, however, have been steadily increasing over the past decade, and the researchers from the Westchester Medical Center, New York, USA wanted to find out if these have become the leading cause of premature death associated with trauma.

The aims of this study were to determine the magnitude of potential years of life lost due to firearms and to examine the evolution of firearm deaths on the basis of sex, race, and geographical location within the USA.

They analysed data from annual National Vital Statistics Reports (NVSR) for the years 2009 to 2018, the latest year for which data were available, and death certificates for each of the US states. A database of firearm-related deaths was generated using these annual reports, while potential years of life lost were calculated by subtracting the age at death from the standard age of 80.

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