New study finds homicide is the largest contributor to years of life lost among black Americans

Deaths in America caused by homicide are an understudied public health crisis

Homicide is the largest contributor to potential years of life lost among black Americans.

That's according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.

By contrast, the study found that homicide was the 12th highest contributor to potential years of life lost for white Americas.

Although black americans are disproportionately affected by homicide, the study found that the amount invested in homicide research is dramatically underrepresented in public health.

"Homicide is, unfortunately, a common cause of premature death, and black americans are more likely to be affected by homicide than white americans," said Molly Rosenberg, lead author of the study. “Homicide-related deaths in America, most of which are caused by firearms, constitute a public health crisis. Yet when we look at what kind of public health research gets funded and published, we find homicide to be conspicuously absent. The top causes of death that impact the health of white americans, on the other hand, are much better represented in public health research and funding."

The IU study reviewed all deaths of white and black americans in 2015 and calculated the potential years of life lost for each of 31 causes of death.

By reviewing potential years of life lost instead of simply number of annual deaths, the study was better able to capture the loss of human potential as well as the burden of premature deaths.

(This story was originally published on October 11, 2017)


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