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Suicide Leading Cause of Violent Deaths

Homicides more prevalent among males and young adult blacks

TUESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of all violent deaths in the United States are caused by suicide, with higher rates among males than females, according to a report published in the April 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Debra L. Karch, Ph.D., of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System, which comprised data from 16 states compiled in 2005.

In the year under survey, there were 15,962 violent deaths, of which 56.1 percent were due to suicide, the researchers report. Homicides and deaths involving legal interventions accounted for 29.6 percent of the total. A further 13.3 percent were of undetermined intent and 0.7 percent were unintentional firearms deaths. The highest violent death rates occurred among young people aged 20 to 24 years, and rates for men were significantly higher than for women, the report indicates. American Indians/Alaskan Natives and blacks had higher rates of violent deaths than whites and Hispanics.

"Accurate, timely and comprehensive surveillance data are necessary for the occurrence of violent deaths in the United States to be understood better and ultimately prevented," the authors write. "The continued development and expansion of the National Violent Death Reporting System is essential to CDC's efforts to reduce the personal, familial and societal costs of violence."

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