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Report: Nearly 50 percent of D.C. deaths traceable to preventable behavior

Nearly 50 percent of deaths in the District in 2007 were traced back to preventable behavior, according to a report released Tuesday by the city Department of Health.

The leading cause of death, representing 1,367 of 5,168 deaths of District residents in 2007, was heart disease followed by cancer (1,159), cerebrovascular disease (200), accidents (200) and HIV/AIDS (188), according to the report.

The report links heart disease and cancer to tobacco use, which is preventable.

The health department used various formulas to arrive at the conclusions in the report, marking the District as the first city and third jurisdiction to used residential data to complete the study.

"Information like this is the key to residents making smart decisions about their health," Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said in a statement. "This report illustrates clearly how much we have to do to help people live healthier lives, because the choices we make can have serious impact on our health."

The report lists the following as the top preventable causes of death:

1. Tobacco - 16.6%

2. Poor diet and physical inactivity - 15.1%

3. Microbial (infectious) agents - 4.6%

4. Alcohol consumption - 2.9%

5. Firearms - 2.7%

6. Medical errors - 2.7%

7. Toxic agents - 2.1%

8. Sexual behavior - 0.8%

9. Illicit drugs - 0.8%

10. Motor vehicles - 0.6%

11. Uninsurance - 0.6%

-- Nikita Stewart

By Nikita Stewart  |  February 23, 2010; 1:03 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , Nikita Stewart  
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Posted by: mikecapitolhill | February 23, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I can see the uninsured being more susceptible to death. You just don't get the same kind of care at a hospital when uninsured when there is a checkbook on the other end to pay the bill. That, and the uninsured are less likely to pursue health maintenance care vs. crisis care. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | February 23, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The city Health Department's suspicious "report" notwithstanding, in view of the Sub-Preme Court's ill-considered, intentionally skewed decision on Second Amendment "rights" (equating individuals with armed masses of men), MORE GUNS in the hands of D.C. criminals and teenage gang members will drastically UP the death rate from firearms.

Because no matter what the red-state gun-nuts say, citizens --homeowners -- possessing guns will never be a match for career thugs. This includes the quantity of weapons and firearm skills.

Posted by: kinkysr | February 23, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I say the first 9 causes of death look to me like natural selection! I say let people kill themselves with stupidity all they want. If we leave them to their own devices, it will get them out of the gene pool faster. And anyone who has spent any time in DC knows the gene pool needs a good cleansing!

Posted by: Stats | February 23, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

No kidding. MácDonal’ anyone?

Posted by: SydneyP | February 24, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

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