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Road accidents, suicide and violence killing youth worldwide: Study

The study also presented major differences according to region, showing two-thirds of the premature deaths in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, and only 3 percent in high-income countries

Los Angeles, September 11: A new study by Australian researchers has revealed that majority of young people across the world are dying in road accidents or some sort of violence.

The study, which was supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), has demonstrated that more than 2 million young adults are dying each year, with 97 percent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries, and some 65 percent occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

What’s killing world’s youth
Researchers at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia in association with the scientists at University College London and WHO studied the global patterns of death in young people aged between 10-24 years and found that road traffic accidents, suicide and violence, as well as complications during pregnancy and child birth, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) are among the leading causes of early death among the worldwide youths.

After studying the worldwide statistics from the 2.6 million deaths that occurred among 1.8 billion people aged between 10 and 24 during the years 2004-2006, lead researcher Dr. George Patton, of the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and international colleagues found that traffic were the biggest killer, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in the adolescents, followed by violence, suicide and respiratory tract infections.

Road accidents also contributed 14 percent adolescent male deaths and 5 percent female deaths.

According to the study, suicide contributed to 6.3 percent of adolescent deaths; violence 6.0 percent; lower-tract respiratory infections and TB 11 percent and AIDS 5.5 percent. A considerable number of youths lose due to violent activities, the study says.

"There has long been an assumption that young people are healthy, fit and they don't die. And I've certainly heard politicians and policy-makers make statements of that kind," he said.

"I think it's a problem which is now becoming manifest,” he continued. "Some of these problems, related to emotion, are actually very prominent causes not only of death in adolescence, but health problems later in life."

Maternal conditions killing women
The worldwide statistics further showed that women and girls were more likely to die in this age group and maternal conditions including pregnancy and childbirth were a leading cause of adolescent female deaths, at 15 percent.

"It is shocking the levels of maternal mortality that still exist," Reuters quoted Krishna Bose of the WHO's child and adolescent health department as telling the news conference. "There is no reason at all for women to die in the process of giving birth."

The study also presented major differences according to region, showing that nearly two-thirds of the premature deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, while high-income countries had only 3 percent of the deaths, despite having 11 percent of the population in this age range.

Headed by George Patton, Russell Viner at University College London and Krishna Bose of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the study findings appear in the Friday’s issue of The Lancet medical journal.