Chapter 1

Text and Images from Slide

10 Leading Causes of Death in 1900

Pneumonia and Influenza Tuberculosis Diarrhea Diseases of the heart Intracranial lesions of vascular origin Nephritis All accidents Cancer Senility Diphtheria
Percentage of all deaths 11.8 11.3 8.3 8 6.2 5.1 4.2 3.7 2.9 2.4
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Lecture Notes

Now compare this graph to the one we saw on the previous slide. Here we're looking at the top 10 leading causes of death from 1900, and you can see a clear shift in the types of causes of death that people are dying from in 1900 compared to 2007 in the previous slide. So what do you see? Yes, some of the diseases on these list, i.e. cancer, diseases of the heart, are still present, but they represent a much smaller percentage of the total deaths, and there's a clear shift from communicable diseases, such as pneumonia and influenza, to non-communicable and preventable diseases such as heart disease. In short, the bad news is that we're dying too young of preventable diseases, but the good news is that we know that choosing healthy behaviors such as not smoking, eating well, being physically active, can reduce the likelihood of premature death. We're going to talk about all of these things throughout this semester, but it's important to keep these statistics in mind, because we're choosing behaviors that are leading to lower quality of life and are leading us to die prematurely.