For at least the past three decades, injuries have been recognized as an important public health problem in the United States. In 2001, there were approximately 157,000 deaths due to injuries in the US. There were also almost 30 million non-fatal injury incidents.
Injuries have been defined as: “…any unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to thermal, mechanical, electrical, or chemical energy or from the absence of such essentials as heat or oxygen”. Within public health, the field of injury prevention and control is dedicated to reducing the burden of injuries on the lives of people around the world.
Injury prevention seeks to reduce injuries by: 1) identifying risk factors, 2) designing interventions to address the risk factors, 3) implementing those interventions, 4) evaluating their effectiveness, and 5) replicating those that work. As with many other public health problems, interventions can target factors associated with the human or host, vehicle or vector, and the physical or social environment.