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Longitudinal cohort study of injury type, settings, treatment and costs in British Columbia youth, 2003–2013


Background In 2010 in British Columbia (BC), Canada, total injury costs per capita were higher among youth aged 15–24 years than in any other age group. Injury prevention efforts have targeted injuries with high mortality (transportation injuries) or morbidity (concussions). However, the profile and health costs of common youth injuries (types, locations, treatment choices and prevention strategies) and how these change from adolescence to young adulthood is not known.

Methods Participants (n=662) were a randomly recruited cohort of BC youth, aged 12–18, in 2003. They were followed biennially across a decade (six assessments).

Results Serious injuries (defined as serious enough to limit normal daily activities) in the last year were reported by 27%–41% of participants at each assessment. Most common injuries were sprains or strains, broken bones, cuts, punctures or animal bites, and severe bruises. Most occurred when playing a sport or from falling. Estimated total direct cost of treatment per injury was approximately $2500. In addition, 25% experienced serious injuries at three or more assessments, indicating possible differences that warrents further investigation.

Conclusions The occurence and health cost of common injuries to youth and young adults are underestimated in this study but are nevertheless substantial. Ongoing surveillence, awareness raising, and prevention efforts may be needed to reduce these costs.

  • costs
  • youth
  • adolescent
  • sports / leisure facility

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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