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OC Health Care Agency Press Release

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2014

Contact: Nicole Stanfield, 714-834-2178

New Study Finds Over One-Third of Orange County Deaths Are Premature

(Santa Ana) – A new study by the Orange County Health Care Agency examines the leading causes of premature death in Orange County residents. Over 6,000 deaths in 2010 were premature – people less than 75 years of age. The three leading causes of premature death were cancer, heart disease, and unintentional injury (primarily drug overdose).

Unintentional injury deaths primarily due to drug overdoses were the number one cause of premature death for young people (15-24 years old) and adults (25-44 years old). “The entire community has a role in promoting healthier behaviors, such as physical activity, smoking cessation, and the prevention of drug abuse in order to reduce premature deaths in Orange County,” said Dr. Eric Handler, County Health Officer. “Drug overdose deaths in particular are both tragic and preventable.”

While Orange County has lower premature death rates compared to state and national rates, it is a concern that over one-third of all deaths are premature. The report details the demographic and geographic burden of disease and injury in Orange County, and will be used to guide prevention efforts that may extend the years of life of county residents. In support of this, The Health Care Agency recently launched the Eat.Play.Breathe. campaign to promote, a website that offers resources and practical tips on quitting smoking, increasing physical activity and improving diet.

The report uses data from the 2010 Orange County Master Death file for county residents. These are the most recent data available due to the time required for collection and analysis. A summary of the Leading Causes of Premature Mortality in Orange County report is available online.

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By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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