Winter Injuries

December 13, 2013

With winter now upon us, several storms have already hit much of the country with dangerous snow and ice. The wintery conditions can result in injuries that often lead to hospitalizations that are sometimes fatal.  The impact on society is direct in terms of medical costs and indirect in terms of lost productivity.

There is a wealth of NCHS data that help illustrate the impact of injuries on Americans. Mortality data from 2010 show that injuries are among the leading causes of death in the United States, and unintentional injuries (accidents) are the 5th leading cause of death for all ages.

More striking than the number of injury deaths is the number of injuries seen in hospitals and emergency departments. In 2010, for each death by injury, there about 11 times as many hospitalizations and 182 times as many emergency department visits. In 2010, nearly 1 in 4 emergency department visits-almost 30 million visits-had injury as the primary diagnosis.

Diagnosed injuries are classified by mechanism—the cause of the injury. The five most common mechanisms of diagnosed injury for people who sought treatment in emergency departments were: falls, being struck by a person or object, motor vehicle traffic accidents, cut, and exposure and other natural or environmental injuries. Also, the average length of hospital stay for treatment of an injury was almost 5 days.

For non-fatal injuries, CDC estimates that falls were the leading mechanism of initial injury emergency department in 2010.  Also, nearly half of the respondent-reported non-fatal medically attended injuries occurred in or around the home.

So watch out for those patches of ice.

Trends in Insurance Coverage and Source of Private Coverage Among Young Adults

December 11, 2013

NCHS has put a report that provides estimates describing the previous insurance status and sources of coverage among privately insured young adults aged 19–25, using data from the 2008–2012 National Health Interview Survey.  Comparisons are made with adults aged 26–34, the most similar age group that was not affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision.  Young adults often experience instability with regard to work, school, residential status, and financial independence. This could contribute to a lack of or gaps in insurance coverage. In September 2010, the ACA extended dependent health coverage to young adults up to age 26. This provision was expected to lead to increases in private coverage for young adults aged 19–25 when they became eligible for coverage through their parents’ employment.

Key Findings From the Report:

  • The percentage of young adults with private health insurance coverage increased from the last 6 months of 2010 through the last 6 months of 2012 (52.0% to 57.9%).
  • Except for an increase in the first 6 months of 2011, the percentage of privately insured young adults who had a gap in coverage during the past 12 months decreased from the first 6 months of 2008 through the last 6 months of 2012 (10.5% to 7.8%).
  • The percentage of privately insured young adults with coverage in their own name decreased from 40.8% in the last 6 months of 2010 to 27.2% in the last 6 months of 2012.
  • The percentage of privately insured young adults with employer-sponsored health insurance increased from the last 6 months of 2010 to the last 6 months of 2012 (85.6% to 92.5%).

Motor Vehicle Deaths

December 6, 2013

The recent news that Paul Walker, the star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series, was killed in a car crash has generated  interest from the public into data on motor vehicle fatalities.

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the main source of information about traffic accidents and fatalities in the U.S., the National Center for Health Statistics also tracks this leading cause of death as a standard part of its mortality data collection activities.

Motor vehicle-related deaths remain a significant cause of preventable death, accounting for about 34,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2011 for all age groups.  It also accounted for nearly one out of five of injury deaths.   The age-adjusted death rate for these injuries has recently begun to decrease — 3.6% from 11.1 per 100,000 population in 2009 to 10.7 in 2010.

Motor vehicle-related death rates are higher for males and females aged 15-24 than for most other age groups.  For males and females aged 15-19, motor vehicle-related deaths declined 47% from 2000 to 2010.  Motor vehicle-related deaths rates declined 31% for males aged 20-24 and 26% for females in the same age group during this 10-year period.

According to our National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, motor vehicle-related accidents resulted in over 3 percent of emergency department visits.

In terms of years of life lost, motor vehicle crashes rank third, behind only cancer and heart disease and account for approximately $99 billion in medical and lost work costs annually.

Recent Trends in Births and Fertility Rates Through June 2013

December 6, 2013

NCHS has released a Health E- Stat that gives a provisional count of birth in the United States. The provisional count of births in the U.S. for the 12-month period ending June 2013 was 3,941,000, which was not significantly different from the 3,944,000 births (provisional count) for the 12-month period ending June 2012 . The number of births has declined from the historic high of 4,316,233 in 2007. However, the decline has slowed from 2010 through 2011, and the number was essentially unchanged from 2011 through 2012.

Pregnancy Rates for U.S. Women Continue to Drop

December 5, 2013

NCHS has released a report that provides a comprehensive picture of pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes.  Pregnancy rates for women in the United States continued to decline in 2009, reaching the lowest level in 12 years (102.1 per 1,000 women aged 15–44). This level is 12% below the 1990 peak (115.8). The estimated number of pregnancies dropped to 6,369,000 (4,131,000 live births, 1,152,000 induced abortions, and 1,087,000 fetal losses). The drop in birth rates since 2007 has been well documented. However, it is important to examine the other outcomes of pregnancy to understand the full scope of current reproductive trends.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • The pregnancy rate for U.S. women in 2009 was 102.1 per 1,000 women aged 15–44, the lowest level in 12 years; only the 1997 rate of 101.6 has been lower in the last 30 years.
  • Rates for women under age 30 fell during 1990–2009, while rates for women aged 30 and over increased.
  • Rates for teenagers reached historic lows in 2009, including rates for the three major race and Hispanic origin groups.
  • Pregnancy rates have declined about 10% each for married and unmarried women since 1990.
  • The birth rate for married women was 72% higher than the rate for unmarried women; the abortion rate for unmarried women was almost five times higher than the rate for married women.

More Than 6% of U.S. Adolescents Take Psychotropic Drugs

December 4, 2013

A new report released by NCHS provides the estimate of any psychotropic medication use in the past month among U.S. noninstitutionalized adolescents aged 12–19 during 2005–2010, using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. Psychotropic medication is a type of drug used to treat clinical psychiatric symptoms or mental disorders. Specific psychotropic drug types addressed are antidepressants; medications for attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD); anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics (ASH); antimanics; and antipsychotics. Adolescents using psychotropic drugs are further examined by sex, race and Hispanic origin, and mental health professional consultation.

Key Findings From the Report:

Approximately 6.0% of U.S. adolescents aged 12–19 reported psychotropic drug use in the past month.

  • The use of antidepressants (3.2%) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) drugs (3.2%) was highest, followed by antipsychotics (1.0%); anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics (0.5%); and antimanics (0.2%).
  • Males (4.2%) were more likely than females (2.2%) to use ADHD drugs. Females (4.5%) were more likely than males (2.0%) to use antidepressants.
  • Psychotropic drug use was higher among non-Hispanic white (8.2%) adolescents than non-Hispanic black (3.1%) and Mexican-American (2.9%) adolescents.
  • About one-half of U.S. adolescents using psychotropic drugs in the past month had seen a mental health professional in the past year (53.3%).