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Firearms Leading Cause of Death Among Young Adult Men

Findings in U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Colombia based on national vital statistics data from 1990 to 2015

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THURSDAY, May 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Firearm mortality in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia is highest among young adult men, and is strongly associated with race, ethnicity, and low education levels, according to a study published online May 21 in The Lancet Public Health.

Anna J. Dare, Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues used national vital statistics data (1990 to 2015) from four publicly available data repositories in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia in order to compare firearm mortality.

The researchers found that during the study period, there were 2,472,000 medically certified firearm deaths (851,000 in the United States, 272,000 in Mexico, 855,000 in Brazil, and 494,000 in Colombia). In Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil, homicides accounted for most of the firearm deaths (82.7, 93.8, and 89.5 percent). In the United States, suicide accounted for the majority of firearm deaths (56.3 percent). Firearm mortality was highest among men aged 15 to 34 years in all four countries. There was an increased risk of firearm homicide seen among young men with low educational attainment in all four countries. In the United States and Brazil, black and brown men, respectively, were at the highest risk for firearm homicide. In the United States, this racial difference was seen regardless of educational attainment. There was substantial subnational geographical variation in firearm mortality.

"Reductions in firearm deaths would improve life expectancy, particularly for black men in the United States, and would reduce racial and educational disparities in mortality," the authors write.

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