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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


REICHENHEIM, Michael Eduardo  and  WERNECK, Guilherme L.. Violent death as a cause of years of potential life lost in Rio de Janeiro, 1990. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1994, vol.10, suppl.1, pp.S188-S198. ISSN 1678-4464.

This article is concerned with the magnitude of causes of death in the State and Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, in 1990, according to the "Years of Potential Life Lost" (YPLL) from one to 70 years of age. This indicator provides a more precise evaluation of the greater relevance of early deaths. An analysis of YPLL by main causes of death shows that in both the State and Municipality, external causes (traumas and injuries) are the leading causes with over 30% of YPLL. This finding goes against the accepted mortality-rate-based view of chronic heart disease as the most important cause of death. Analysis of specific causes of death for both the State and Municipality puts homicides in first place, followed by cancers in the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro and "other types of violence" (suicides and violence of unknown type, whether accidental or intentional) in the State of Rio de Janeiro. With the exception of cancers, YPLL rates by main death groups are consistently lower in the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro than the State as a whole, irrespective of gender. Absolute figures and rates for YPLL are strikingly higher in males, due mainly to "external causes". The authors stress the importance of using this indicator of premature deaths for defining priorities in health actions. The devastating effect of traumas and injuries as causes of deaths at early ages is also emphasized.

Keywords : Trauma; Violence; Accidents; Suicide.

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