Magazine article The Nation's Health

Study: California, New York Have Best Injury Prevention Programs in U.S

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Study: California, New York Have Best Injury Prevention Programs in U.S

Article excerpt

ONE AMERICAN dies because of an injury every three minutes, and these injuries cost more than $4 trillion each year, a recent report found.

Statistics vary among states, but a May 22 report from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health, "The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report," credited California and New York with having the best prevention strategies and Montana and Ohio as those with the worst.

States were ranked using a set of 10 key indicators on the steps they take to prevent injuries. The highest ranked states scored nine out of a possible 10, while the lowest scored two. Twenty-four states scored a five or lower.

New Mexico had the highest rate of injuryrelated deaths, with nearly 98 per 100,000 people.

The report examined the causes and consequences of common injuries such as motor vehicle crashes, falls and acts of violence.

Jeffery Levi, PhD, executive director of Trust for America's Health, said federal funding for injury prevention is necessary because the "modern world creates new risks, and we have to keep up with the constant changes."

There is much that can still be done to help prevent injuries, the report found. In particular, 29 states do not require bicycle helmets for children, 18 states lack seat belt laws for passengers and 34 states lack convincing drunk driving regulations. A panel of injury prevention experts found that such policies could reduce unnecessary injuries.

Although injuries have the second highest medical cost of preventable health issues, injury prevention accounts for just 5 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget, and funding has decreased more than 24 percent in the past five years, according to Amber Williams, executive director of the Safe States Alliance. …

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