Low-income Areas Have Higher Injury Risk

MEMPHIS, Sept. 9 (UPI) — People living in the lowest-income neighborhoods have an injury rate 20 times higher than those living in highest-income neighborhoods, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, finds people living in the lowest-income neighborhoods experience nearly six times higher rates of blunt injury — include motor vehicle crashes, falls and assaults — than people in the highest income neighborhoods.

Dr. Ben L. Zarzaur, assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and colleagues evaluated 17,658 patients ages 18-84 who were admitted after injury to the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center from Jan. 1, 1996, to Dec. 31, 2005.

Addresses of adults admitted from 1996 to 2005 were geocoded and matched to one of 214 census tract groups. Crude injury admission rate ratios were calculated by neighborhood socioeconomic status category in Shelby County from 1996 to 2005 for blunt and penetrating injuries — using firearms or cuts — with the highest neighborhood socioeconomic status.

Crude blunt injury rates steadily and significantly increased across neighborhood socioeconomic status categories to the point that people living in the lowest neighborhood socioeconomic status category had nearly six times the crude blunt injury admission rate as those from the highest neighborhood socioeconomic status category. The results for injury admission rate ratios for penetrating injury were similar.

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