Injuries decreasing across the world, researchers say

Seattle – Injuries experienced around the globe have declined nearly one-third over the past quarter century, prompting researchers to suggest that “the world is becoming a safer place to live.”

In a study published online Dec. 3 in Injury Prevention, researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington examined data from 188 countries in 21 regions of the world.

Looking at 26 causes of injury and 47 injury types, the researchers found that in 2013, 973 million people sustained injuries requiring medical treatment. Of those injuries, about 29 percent were caused by car crashes, 18 percent were self-harm, 12 percent were falls and 9 percent were due to violence. Nearly 5 million people worldwide died due to their injuries.

Despite the 31 percent decline in injuries between 1990 and 2013, researchers cautioned that the injury burden is still severe in some parts of the world, and patterns vary by cause, age and sex. “There are still large improvements that need to be made,” the researchers said.