(HealthDay News) – Deaths due to suicide, falls, and unintentional poisoning increased over the last decade, while motor vehicle accident deaths declined by 25%, according to research published online Sept 20 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Ian R.H. Rockett, PhD, MPH, of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues conducted an analysis of cause-of-death data for U.S. residents for 2000 through 2009 to describe national trends for the five leading external causes of injury mortality.

During the study period, the researchers found that the mortality rate increased 128% for unintentional poisoning; 71% for unintentional falls; and 15% for suicide. There was a 25% decrease in the mortality rate for motor vehicle traffic crashes. The main cause of injury mortality was suicide, followed by motor vehicle crashes, poisoning, falls, and homicide. The injury mortality rate was lower for females than males. There was a positive age gradient for the adjusted fall mortality rate. Compared with whites, blacks and Hispanics had a lower unadjusted total injury rate; they also had a lower adjusted suicide and motor vehicle crash rate and a higher adjusted homicide rate.

“Mortality rates for suicide, poisoning, and falls rose substantially over the past decade. Suicide has surpassed motor vehicle traffic crashes as the leading cause of injury mortality,” the authors write. “Comprehensive traffic safety measures have successfully reduced the national motor vehicle traffic crash mortality rate. Similar efforts will be required to diminish the burden of other injury.”

Full Text