Examining gender disparities in injury mortality; men at exceptional risk

August 1, 2011, University of Pennsylvania

Men are more likely than die from injury than are women. Susan B. Sorenson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, has evaluated nearly 30 years of national injury mortality data and found that men are at greater risk of injury mortality throughout their lives.

A key finding in the study is that the gender disparity in is greater than the disparity among ethnic groups and across age groups.

in Injury Mortality: Consistent, Persistent, and Larger Than You’d Think,” is scheduled for publication in the American Journal of Public Health in October.

Based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the study looks at male-to-female ratios in injury-related deaths from 1981 to 2007 and accounts for key variables including age and ethnicity.

Sorenson found that males were more likely than females to die from injury, a pattern that spanned ethnic and age groups regardless of the cause or manner of injury. 

“In the last generation, men’s risk of unintentional and violence-related injury overall is at least two or three times that of women during each year. This information about gender differences in mortality could help to develop prevention and intervention efforts,” Sorenson said.  “In fact, gender-based risks are amenable to social change so they offer a wealth of untapped potential for effective health interventions. ”

The study reports that, from 1981 through 2007, 2.9 million and 1.1 million women died of injury. 

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