The major U.S. causes of death for those age 50 and younger are unintentional injuries, drug overdose, non-communicable diseases and homicide, researchers say.
Jessica Y. Ho, a doctoral candidate in demography and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said other major causes of death for children were birth trauma and perinatal conditions due to poor maternal health and nutrition, inadequate care during pregnancy and delivery, lack of essential care for the newborn baby, infections, birth injury, asphyxia and problems relating to premature births.
"Using cross-national mortality data to identify the key age groups and causes of death responsible for these shortfalls, I found that mortality differences those below age 50 accounted for two-thirds of the gap in life expectancy at birth between American males and their counterparts in 16 comparison countries," Ho said in a statement. "Among females, the figure was two-fifths."
U.S. life expectancy at birth is among the lowest of all high-income countries, but recent research has showed the lower life expectancy was due to premature deaths of those age 50 and younger compared to counterparts in other industrialized nations.
The findings were published in the journal Health Affairs.
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