A recent study has shown a momentous increase in the number of teenage deaths across the United States. Rather than sickness or heart disease, these fatalities are attributable to traffic accidents, drug overdoses, homicidal crimes, and suicide. Experts in the field are referring to the rise as a “wake-up call” for America.
In accordance to a recent report published by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Center For Disease Control, after decreasing by 33 percent between 1999 and 2013, the death rate for children between the ages of 10- and 19-years-old abruptly skyrocketed 12 percent in the following three years.
Fox 2 Now recently reported the lead study author, statistician Sally Curtin, believed that she would be “documenting a decline” when she first began reporting. The researchers were astonished when they realized the teen death toll was on the rise, and there was not one particular cause.
“We were surprised that there was such a broad increase across so many causes of death. There wasn’t just one that was contributing.”
Statisticians found that the leading causes of teen death are unintentional, including car accidents. The numbers, as documented by the CDC, show that homicide and suicide are the second leading cause of death among teens age 15 to 19 in the United States.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are approximately 1.2 billion adolescents in the world between the ages of 10 and 19. The WHO documented the statistics regarding teen death, stating that “road injuries were the leading cause of death in 2015, followed by lower respiratory infections and suicide.”
The numbers for CDC’s latest teen death toll report were adopted from the death certificates filed by “funeral directors, attending physicians, medical examiners, and coroners” in all 50 states.
The numbers were generated and processed using information found in the National Vital Statistics System kept by the CDC. Researchers and statisticians took a close look at the data, paying special attention to each individual’s age and cause of death.
Car accidents account for nearly 62 percent of all unintentional deaths within the United States. The second accidental cause is death by poison. Curtain mentioned that when the data was compiled, drug overdoses were included in the poison category.
“Ninety percent of poisoning deaths are drug overdoses, and most of them are in older adolescents.”
There are some obvious limitations to the record of statistics, especially where poisoning, or drug overdose, overlaps with suicide.
“Oftentimes, it’s hard to tell, unless there’s a suicide note, whether it was a suicide or unintentional.”
The report claims that the number of deaths by homicide rose in 2016 by 27 percent. Most of these fatalities were caused by firearms, cutting, or stabbing.
Exact numbers were published in a recent Time article. Overall, 9,716 adolescents perished by fatal injuries in 2016, which is an astounding 17 percent increase from numbers recorded just three years earlier.
The study also showed a sharp increase in both homicide and suicide rates. There were 1,963 children who died by homicide and a shocking 2,553 American children took their own lives that year.
Dr. Thomas Weiser of Stanford University Medical Center, when asked his thoughts on the study, claimed that this is something Americans need to worry about. The data here is “very concerning.”
“Our children are our country’s future, and we as a society need to recognize when they are in trouble. Our investments now as a society will be paid back handsomely when our children grow up to be healthy, productive adults.”
Weiser furthered his statement by stating “prevention services are key.”
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Dr. Tina Cheng, director of the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, echoed Weiser’s sentiments and concerns regarding the rise in teen death in America. She referred to the new study as a “wake-up call,” stating that every American should be paying close “attention to the health and well being of our children.”
It is difficult to determine an exact reason for the significant rise in statistics. Some experts, Cheng included, have surmised that “social media and cyberbullying” may have something to do with it. Others have suggested that the growing inequality in family income may cause undue stress upon our youth.