Blog Post

The (preventable) ways your neighbors die

May 9, 2014

    Juliette Mullin, Editor

    Every hour in the United States, there are 31 deaths from heart disease. Of those deaths, at least 10 could have been prevented. At least, that's according to a fascinating new data set from then CDC.

    For its most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, agency researchers analyzed mortality data on the five leading causes of death in the country: Diseases of the heart, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and unintentional injuries.

    To determine the number of potentially preventable deaths for each of the five conditions, CDC researchers compared the number of expected deaths—which was based on the average death rates for the three states with the lowest death rate for the condition—to the number of actual deaths.

    Each hour in America…

    By breaking down the national estimates included in the report, we find that:

    • Of the 31 heart disease deaths per hour in the United States, 10.5 are preventable.
    • Of the 46 cancer deaths per hour, 9.6 are preventable.
    • Of the eight deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases per hour, 3.3 are preventable.
    • Of the six deaths from cerebrovascular diseases per hour, 1.9 are preventable.
    • Of the 11 deaths from unintentional injuries per hour, 4.2 are preventable.

    Not having health insurance: A top cause of preventable death?

    In each state…

    The most common cause of preventable death varies by state. In the graphic below, we map out the top cause for each U.S. state.

    From our infographics archive: How close are you to a trauma center?

    Infographics: Find out more about cancer death rates

    The World Health Organization warns that cancer death rates are on the rise globally, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology predicts that the disease could be leading cause of death by 2030. Check out these three infographics breaking down cancer incidence and death rates in the United States:

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