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Top 10 Causes of Death for Ages 15-24

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Updated June 15, 2007

The causes of death for ages 15-24 are either largely preventable (accidents, homicide, suicide) or are congenital (illness inherited from parents such as cystic fibrosis or maternally transmitted HIV). These numbers may be changing over the next few decades as an increasing number of children develop diabetes and obesity. Overall, the chances of a 15-24-year-old dying are .008% per year.

1. Accidents

  • % of Deaths: 46 (motor vehicle accidents: 33%)
  • Prevention Methods: Wear your seat belt, drive defensively, and avoid risky behaviors like bungee-parachuting).

2. Homicide

  • % of Deaths: 15
  • Prevention Methods: Avoid dangerous situations and seek help for domestic violence.

3. Suicide

  • % of Deaths: 13
  • Prevention Methods: Seek help for depression and other mental illnesses.

4. Cancer

  • % of Deaths: 5
  • Prevention Methods: This number includes many childhood cancers that are not preventable.

5. Heart disease

  • % of Deaths: 3
  • Prevention Methods: Exercise and a healthy diet can help to prevent and reverse heart disease.

6. Congenital conditions

  • % of Deaths: 1.5
  • Prevention Methods: A healthy pregnancy can help prevent many of these conditions.

7. Stroke

  • % of Deaths: 0.6
  • Prevention Methods: A healthy diet can help prevent stroke.

8. Flu and pneumonia

  • % of Deaths: 0.6
  • Prevention Methods: Get a flu vaccine every year and wash your hands regularly.

9. HIV

  • % of Deaths: 0.6
  • Prevention Methods: In this age group, HIV is often transmitted through pregnancy.

10. Chronic lower respiratory disease

  • % of Deaths: 0.5
  • Prevention Methods: Reduce your risk by not smoking or quitting.

    Other causes account for 14% of deaths.

    source: CDC NVSR 2006

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