CDC: Potentially preventable deaths on the decline

Log in to save this page.
cdc logo

The number of potentially preventable deaths – premature deaths that could have been avoided – declined from 2010 to 2014 for three of the five leading causes of death in the Unites States, CDC researchers estimate.

In 2014, the five leading causes of death for people under age 80 were diseases of the heart, cancers, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases (CLRD), such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema), and unintentional injuries (accidents). These causes accounted for 63 percent of deaths from all causes in that year. CDC estimates that 15 percent of these cancer deaths, 30 percent of these heart-disease deaths, 43 percent of these unintentional-injury deaths, 36 percent of these CLRD deaths, and 28 percent of these stroke deaths were preventable.

Compared with 2010, in 2014:

"Fewer Americans are dying young from preventable causes of death," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD MPH. "Tragically, deaths from overdose are increasing because of the opioid epidemic, and there are still large differences between states in all preventable causes of death, indicating that many more lives can be saved through use of prevention and treatment available today."

Preventable death estimates are an important public-health tool that help state and federal officials establish prevention goals, priorities, and strategies. Health care providers can prevent premature deaths by offering preventive services such as counseling patients on how to quit smoking, how to prevent heart disease and stroke, and how to avoid unintentional injuries.

"These results are intended for states to better understand the national picture to help them improve local prevention efforts," said Captain Michael Iademarco, director of CDC's Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services."

About the Author