TABLE 2.7 Top Five Causes of Death for Adolescents (1999)

Rank

Mortality Ages 10–14

No.

Ratea

Mortality Ages 15–19

No.

Ratea

1

Unintentional injury

1,632

8.3

Unintentional injury

6,688

33.9

2

Malignant neoplasms

503

2.6

Homicide

2,093

10.6

3

Homicide

246

1.3

Suicide

1,615

8.2

4

Suicide

242

1.2

Malignant neoplasms

745

3.8

5

Congenital anomalies

221

1.1

Heart Disease

463

2.3

Total (all causes)

4,121

21.1

Total (all causes)

13,778

69.8

aPer 100,000 population in the age group.

SOURCE: NCHS, 2001b.

Leading Causes of Death for Children 10 to 14 and 15 to 19

Table 2.7 reports the leading causes of death for children aged 10 to 14 and 15 to 19. Overall, 10- to 14-year-olds have death rates similar those of 5- to 9-year-olds. For older teenagers, however, death rates rise sharply— more than tripling compared to the 10 to 14 age group. This increased mortality reflects developmental changes, including increased risk-taking behaviors as adolescents accelerate their independence from their parents.

Unintentional Injuries

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for both younger and older adolescents, but the rate for older adolescents is almost four times that of the younger group. Not surprisingly, given that younger children are not legally allowed to drive, the rate of unintentional deaths involving motor vehicles increases dramatically with age, from 5.0 deaths per 100,000 children aged 10 to 14 to 26.3 deaths per 100,000 in those aged 15 to 19 in 1999 (NCHS, 2001e). Almost three-quarters of all unintentional traumatic deaths in the older adolescent group involved motor vehicle crashes, including collisions between vehicles, single-car crashes, collisions with fixed objects (e.g., telephone poles, trees), pedestrians, and trains. Older teens also have higher death rates for other kinds of injuries (7.3 per 100,000 for those aged 15 to 19 compared to 3.5 per 100,000 for those aged 10 to 14 in 1998) (NCHS, 2001e).



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