Objective: The measurement of years of potential life lost before age 65 (YPLL) is one of the Health Outcome Indicators defined by the state of Florida to measure progress toward Healthy People 2000 objectives. The authors describe the outcomes of their work with county health agencies to encourage use of the YPLL statistic.
Methods: Calculations of the 1993 YPLL rates for Florida counties with populations greater than 50,000 and of inter-county variability in YPLL rates were used to train county health agencies in the use of YPLL.
Results: Sixty-eight percent of all years of potential life lost in Florida in 1993 were attributed to 10 causes. While the total YPLL rates ranged from 3500 per 100,000 to 7000 per 100,000 across Florida counties, the leading causes differed substantially across counties. The YPLL measure was found to be useful in helping county health agencies plan programs to reduce premature mortality.
Conclusions: Federal, state, and county health units can use YPLL rates to help guide activities toward Healthy People 2000 and to help identify new health problems that require forming new community alliances, but staff members must be trained to use the YPLL statistic appropriately. Causes that vary little across counties enable the implementation of statewide prevention approaches while causes that differ greatly by county will require locally designed interventions.