Background: The importance of injury as a public health problem is not well recognized in many developing countries. Data have recently become available on injury mortality in China.
Method: We compared Chinese injury data based on a 100 million population segment for 1986 with data for the United States.
Results: The age-adjusted death rate from all injuries for China exceeds the rate for the US (69.0 vs 61.3 per 100,000). The US has higher death rates from motor vehicle crashes, fires, and homicide; China has greater mortality from drowning, poisoning, falls, and suicide. Especially noteworthy in China are the high drowning rates among young children and the elderly and the high suicide rates in rural areas among young adults and the elderly.
Conclusion: Injury is an important public health problem in China, exceeding in many respects the problem in the United States. It is urgent for China to place high priority on injury research and prevention.