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Perspectives in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Changes in Premature Mortality -- United States, 1982-1983

Total years of potential life lost (YPLL) for persons who died in 1983 between their first and 65th birthdays decreased by 2.9% from 1982 to 1983. In this issue, Table V presents updated estimates of premature mortality based on age- and cause-specific death rates for 1983 from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The rate of YPLL per 1,000 persons in the 1- through 64-year age range decreased by 3.6%.

The relative ranking of the top four causes of premature mortality did not change from 1982 to 1983 (Figure 1). Accidents (i.e., unintentional injuries) continued to head the list, with 24.2% of the total in 1983. However, its rate fell by 7.3% from the previous year's level. Although malignant neoplasms and heart disease each accounted for larger proportions of the total YPLL in 1983, when their contributions are expressed as rates, both diseases caused less premature mortality per 1,000 persons aged 1 through 64 years in 1983 than in 1982. The largest proportional decrease in rate was for cerebrovascular disease, down by 12.9% from 1982 (Figure 2). Increases in YPLL per 1,000 persons aged 1 through 64 years occurred for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and allied conditions (6.5%) and for diabetes mellitus (7.2%).

Congenital anomalies are included in this revision of Table V, because they account for enough deaths, even after age 1 year, to rank seventh as a cause of YPLL. Reported by Div of Surveillance and Epidemiologic Studies, Epidemiology Program Office, CDC.

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