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Impact of homicide and traffic crashes on life expectancy in the largest Latin American country

17 Oct 2016


Abstract
Background

Brazil and Canada are on opposite poles of the spectrum for life expectancy in America. We identified factors underlying Brazil's lower life expectancy relative to Canada, with emphasis on the role of injury compared with other major causes.

Methods

We computed life expectancy at birth in Brazil and Canada in 2010 and identified the ages and causes of death responsible for the gap between both countries. The main outcome measure was the contribution of homicide and traffic accidents to the gap, compared with other causes of death.

Results

Relative to Canada, life expectancy was lower in Brazil by 8.2 years (men) and 5.2 years (women). Injury lowered life expectancy of men in Brazil by 2.2 years, or more than a quarter of the gap, mainly due to homicide and traffic accidents between ages 20 and 64 years. Homicide and traffic accidents contributed more than all circulatory diseases combined. In women, circulatory disease was the most important cause of lower life expectancy.

Conclusions

In 2010, homicides and traffic accidents were the principal cause for short life expectancy of men in Brazil. Improving life expectancy in Brazil requires addressing the root causes of inequalities that drive illicit drug trade, violence and accidents.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Public Health