Background Injuries among seniors are recognised as an important public health problem not only in developed countries but also in middle-income countries. There is ample epidemiological literature that relates economic growth to the reduction of infectious and childhood diseases. Less evidence exists to document if economic growth alone is enough to reverse the increasing trends of injury mortality and morbidity among seniors in a middle-income country.
Aim To investigate the association between economic growth and injury deaths among older people in Colombia.
Method Using data from Colombia, 1979–2006 (n=28), time-series models were used to ascertain if the variation over time in injury mortality among seniors is related to short-term oscillations in economic performance. Four empirical specifications usually used in the analysis of such data were implemented. Models were run by type of injury and gender.
Results A negative but moderate effect of economic growth was found on injury deaths among older people. The reported elasticity was between −0.98 and −1.26. Men benefit from economic growth more than women. Economic growth seems to reduce traffic injuries, suicides and homicides. A positive association was also found between falls and growth in gross domestic product.
Conclusions The results indicate a non-homogeneous association between economic growth and injury deaths among seniors in Colombia. This association is usually stronger in a negative direction among children and younger adults. Although more research is needed to understand the causal relationship between economic growth and injury, the association found may suggest that economic growth may not be sufficient to reverse injury deaths among older people; therefore, additional health policies need to be in place to reduce mortality due to preventable injuries in seniors.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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