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U.S. Injuries Cost $80 Billion in Medical Bills A Year

There were almost 50 million injuries in 2000 and males were responsible for 70 percent of cost

THURSDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Physical injuries that are often preventable cost Americans about $80 billion a year in medical bills alone, according to an analysis of 2000 data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers from the CDC and scientific contractors from RTI International and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation released the findings in a book, The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States.

Nearly 50 million injuries needing medical attention in 2000 cost $80.2 billion in medical bills and $326 billion in lost lifetime productivity, the researchers report. Men ran up about 70 percent, or $283 billion, of the tab; people aged 25 to 44 accounted for 40 percent, or $164 billion, of the total. Motor vehicles and falls caused 22 percent ($89 billion) and 20 percent ($81 billion) of costs, respectively.

Stepped-up prevention programs could improve lives and cut injury costs, according to CDC Director Julie Gerberding, M.D.

"As this study shows, the benefits of preventing things like motor vehicle crashes, falls, residential fires, childhood abuses and other injuries are significant," said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention, in a statement.

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