Violent and unintentional injuries rose in US from 2014-16

The U.S. has seen a sharp increase in violent and unintentional injuries over the last several years, reversing progress made in the 1980s and '90s, a study from researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora and Denver Health Medical Center found.

Six things to know:

1. The study, published in JAMA Surgery, looked at data between 2000 and 2016 and found injury is a leading cause of death in the U.S.

Using the CDC's web-based injury statistics query and reporting system, the researchers found the spike in overall injuries from 2014-16 decreased survival gains seen since 2001.

2. "All injuries from gunshot wounds to car accidents have been going up," said senior study author Angela Sauaia, MD, PhD. "We saw a distinct spike between 2014 and 2016 that we can't explain."

Black non-Latinos had the highest rate of homicide deaths from 2000 to 2016,and had the highest increase of all racial/ethnic groups during the 2014-16 time frame, the study authors said. They also found similar patterns for unintentional injuries and homicides.

3. Suicides appeared to rise steadily for white non-Latinos and black non-Latinos, with a small but significant acceleration starting in 2006, Dr. Sauaia said. White Latinos saw a larger, significant increase in suicides beginning in 2013. About half of suicides were firearm-related, and those jumped from 2006 to 2016 after a six-year decline.

4. The study found two-thirds of homicides were firearm-related.

"This subgroup observed the largest increase in the 2014-16 period compared to all other injury mechanisms," the study said.

5. Motor vehicle accidents significantly increased from 2014-16 after 10 years of declines. Unintentional injuries rose after 2014 for most age groups, except those ages 16 and younger.

6. Dr. Sauaia said there isn't an easy explanation for the findings.

 "What is disturbing to me is that we are talking about a major cause of death in our society, and we have so little funding to do research for causes and solutions," she said.

More articles on population health: 
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