ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Tens of thousands of deaths in America could be prevented, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed data from 2008 to 2010, focusing on people who died before age 80 from one of the five leading causes of death in the United States: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries.

They examined the number of deaths state by state, and then calculated how many lives could have been saved if all the states had the same death rate as the states with the lowest rates.

The scientists concluded that 20 percent to 40 percent of the 900,000 premature deaths each year could have been prevented.

The study suggests that, if all states had the lowest death rate observed for each cause, it would be possible to prevent:

  • 34 percent of premature deaths from heart diseases, prolonging about 92,000 lives
  • 21 percent of premature cancer deaths, prolonging about 84,500 lives
  • 39 percent of premature deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, prolonging about 29,000 lives
  • 33 percent of premature stroke deaths, prolonging about 17,000 lives
  • 39 percent of premature deaths from unintentional injuries, prolonging about 37,000 lives

 Many of the risks are avoidable by making changes in personal behavior, others are due to disparities in social, demographic, environmental and economic conditions in different neighborhoods.

”We think that this report can help states set goals for preventing premature death from the conditions that account for the majority of deaths in the United States,” said Harold W. Jaffe, MD, the study’s senior author and CDC’s associate director for science. “Achieving these goals could prolong the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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