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Child and adolescent mortality due to external causes: trends from 1979 to 1995

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the magnitude and trends of mortality due to external causes in specific age groups, from 0 to 19 years old in a population living in the city of Recife, Brazil, from 1979 to 1995. METHODS: Data from the Mortality Data System of the Ministry of Health and Health Department of Pernambuco State was used. The studied population, aged 0 to 19 years old, represented 41.8% of total city population in 1991. A time series exploratory ecological model was created to analyze trends in mortality coefficients due to external causes. Using simple linear regression these coefficients were assessed in specific age groups categorized by gender. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In the time series, mortality coefficients due to external causes showed an increasing trend, in particular due to homicides among adolescents, where the coefficient increased on average 3.05 per year, yielding a relative increase of 601, 3% over the study period. In 1995, more than 90% of these homicides were perpetrated with fire weapons. These data reinforce the seriousness of this problem and the need to deal with it, taking into account the difficulties in determining the causes of violence.

Mortality; Infant mortality; Adolescence; Time series; Mortality rate; Cause of death; Homicide; Accidents, traffic; Suicide; Socioeconomics factors; Age factors; Sex factors

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