Cost of Injuries is High, Especially Among Children and Young Adults

Study of injuries in the U.S. and the response of public and private agencies

From 1996 to 1998, the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, studied the problem of injury in America. A special focus of the project was to examine the accomplishments of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, a division of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The institute formed an expert panel composed of 17 researchers and practitioners with experience and expertise in various areas relevant to injury prevention. In addition, the institute held a public forum to solicit comments from interested parties.

Key Results

  • In a 336-page report, Reducing the Burden of Injury: Advancing Prevention and Treatment, the committee concluded that there is a wide gap between what we already know about preventing or ameliorating injuries and what is being done in our communities, workplaces and clinics.

    The report noted that unintentional injuries and violence account for 30 percent of all years of productive life lost before age 65—more than heart disease, stroke and cancer combined. Injury-related illness and death cost the U.S. economy $260 billion annually.
  • The committee made a number of detailed recommendations, including the need for:
    • Greater coordination between many public and private agencies in the area of injury prevention and control.
    • Greater national commitment and support for trauma care systems at the federal, state and local levels.
    • Strengthening of the infrastructure of injury programs in public health agencies. Implementation of a comprehensive approach toward preventing and reducing firearm injures, particularly among children and adolescents.
    • Increased funding for injury research and training.