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Texas leads nation in preventable deaths

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In a study release online May 1, the Centers for Disease Control attempted to calculate the number of preventable deaths from the five top causes of death in the United States. The study is titled "Potentially Preventable Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death — United States, 2008–2010" and was released in the May 2, 2014 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Their analysis looked at individual states and compared actual deaths to expected deaths and the result was potentially preventable deaths. The five causes examined were heart disease, cancer, chronic lower lung disease, stroke and unintentional injuries.

Texas leads the nation with the highest percentage of preventable deaths in four of the five causes. Texas and Ohio rank as one of the top five states for each cause of death, and Florida follows them by ranking in the top five in four of the five causes.

Texas had 7.9 percent of all preventable deaths due to heart disease. It is followed by New York, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For preventable cancer deaths, Texas has 5.9 percent of the national total. Ranking second was Florida, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Chronic lower respiratory disease is the third ranked cause of death in the United States. Texas saw 6.7 percent of the preventable deaths. Ohio and Florida are ranked second and third. Tobacco states North Carolina and Tennessee ranked fourth and fifth.

Texas ranked first for preventable deaths from stroke, with 10.5 percent of all such deaths. California ranked second with 9 percent. No other state approached those two totals. Georgia is third at 5.8 percent, followed by Ohio and Florida.

Texas ranked second for preventable deaths from unintentional injuries. Florida has the top spot with 8.8 percent of the total. Texas has 8.3 percent. Pennsylvania, Ohio and California follow with much lower percentages, 5.1, 5.0 and 4.7.

The authors note one very important fact about the data. Adding all five sets of numbers for any state or region is an incorrect use of the data. Should public health policy or personal behavior alter the number of preventable deaths for cancer, it may change the number for the other four causes. The data for each cause of death should stand on its own.

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