Sunday, August 30, 2009

Death by Numbers



As a 44 year old white woman living in Massachusetts, I have a 1,600 out of a million chance of dying within the next year. Were I to die during that time, it would most likely be from some form of cancer.
I am about a third less likely to die during the next year as is an African-American woman of the same age and living in the same state. But both of us have better chances of surviving the next twelve months than our counterparts in Kentucky or Mississippi.
All of this grim information comes compliments of the Death Risk Calculator developed at Carnegie Mellon University. This easy-to-use tool allows you to calculate your risk for up to 66 causes of death, from skin cancer to homicide to accidental poisoning.
Sure, it's fun but what's the point? Site developer and professor, Paul Fischbeck hopes it will bring focus and factual information to our nation's ongoing debate over healthcare policy.
"It's much easier to make a persuasive argument when you have the facts to back it up, and this site provides all sides with the facts," said Fischbeck. "We believe that this tool, which allows anyone to assess their own risk of dying and to compare their risks with counterparts in the United States and Europe, could help inform the public and constructively engage them in the debate."


Image courtesy of Stock.xchng

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