Objective: To compare cause-specific unintentional injury mortality trends among elderly (65+) in the European Union over a 10-year period.
Method: Overall and cause-specific data for 23 out of the 29 EU and European Free Trade Association countries with population >/= 1,000,000 were retrieved from the World Health Organization (WHO), and age-standardized mortality rates for the first and last 3 available years of the study period were calculated. Proportional mortality changes were estimated through linear regression.
Results: Circa 1993, country-specific rates varied widely (>fourfold), but this gap is closing and a statistically significant downward trend in overall mortality is noted circa 2002, in about half of the countries. Rates from falls were reduced by 4.3%, from motor vehicle traffic by 3.1%, and from smoke, fire, and flames by 3.1%.
Discussion: A large proportion of EU countries enjoys steady declining trends by major unintentional injury mortality category. Success factors and barriers underlying these benchmarking patterns should be further explored to accelerate the process of injury reduction.