Transport Patterns Affect Adolescent Health

March 20, 1998

(Influence of travel patterns on mortality from injury among teenagers in England and Wales, 19885-95: trend analysis)

Between 1985 and 1995, 10,530 teenagers aged 15-19 years died from injury in England and Wales, of which 7,954 were unintentional injuries, say DiGuiseppi et al in a paper in this week's BMJ. The authors analysed these injuries to ascertain how travel patterns affect the mortality of teenagers.

DiGuiseppi et al found that there was a 32 per cent decline in mortality from unintentional injury among people aged 15-19 years over the eleven year period, which they believe can be largely attributed to falling mortality among motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists, which corresponds to a general decrease in the use of these modes of transport.

Mortality among car occupants, however, has not fallen, say the authors. Even though there has been a 27 per cent decrease in deaths per km travelled by car, the distances teenagers now travel by car have increased hugely (from 4510km to 6069km annually).

Thus the authors conclude that transport patterns are an important determinant in adolescent health and advocate that strategies to influence these patterns could substantially reduce mortality from road crashes.

Contact:

Dr Ian Roberts, Director, Child Health Monitoring Unit, Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Child Health, University College London Medical School, London ian.roberts@ich.ucl.ac.uk
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BMJ

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