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Poor Children at Higher Risk of Death from Injury

In England and Wales, inequalities persist despite overall decline in death rate

FRIDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the fact that overall rates of death from injury have declined over the past 20 years in England and Wales, rates for children from the poorest families have not changed and are 13-fold greater than those in the highest socioeconomic class, according to a study published online July 7 in BMJ.

Phil Edwards, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, and colleagues analyzed the death rates from injury in children from birth up to 15 years of age divided according to the eight social classifications of the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC).

Overall, the death rate from injury among children fell from 11.1 deaths per 100,000 children per year as measured by the 1981 census, to 4.0 deaths per 100,000 children around the time of the 2001 census. However, for children of the long-term unemployed, the death rate from injury was 13.1 times higher than the rate for children in the NS-SEC 1 group (higher managerial and professional occupations). The biggest inequalities were found among deaths that occurred among pedestrians and cyclists, deaths due to house fires and deaths that did not have a determined cause.

"If all children in England and Wales had experienced the relatively low mortality seen among children in the most advantaged families, there would have been 600 fewer deaths from injury and poisoning in 2001-2003," the authors conclude.

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