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Public Health. 2006 Aug;120(8):732-41. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

Gender differences in adolescent injury characteristics: a population-based study of hospital A&E data.

Author information

1
Public Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate patterns of adolescent home/leisure injury serious enough to require hospital attendance.

STUDY DESIGN:

Population-based analysis of data collected by the Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System (HASS/LASS).

METHODS:

Study subjects were 0-17 year old residents of Airdrie and Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland, who attended Monklands Hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department with a home/leisure injury during calendar years 1996-1999. Male to female relative risk ratios (M:F RRRs) for A&E attendance, fracture and hospital admission, stratified into sports and non-sports injuries, were calculated. Sports injuries were further analysed by specific sports and by whether the sports activity was organized or informal. Data were analysed in age groups corresponding to children's stage of schooling.

RESULTS:

The M:F RRR for non-sports A&E attendances remained constant throughout childhood (1.35, 95% CI 1.30-1.39 in 0-17 year olds), whilst that for sports attendances increased sharply with age (2.50, 95% CI 0.89-7.02 in 0-4 year olds, increasing to 8.11, 95% CI 6.27-10.51 in 16-17 year olds). Of sports injury attendances, 50.3% were football-related. Football was overwhelmingly the main cause of boys' sports injury in both the organized and informal sports injury categories. When football injuries were excluded from the analysis, the widening teenage gender gap in injury risk disappeared. There was no significant gender difference in teenagers' rates of A&E attendance for injuries sustained during compulsory school physical education (PE), suggesting a dose-response relationship between sports participation and injury risk.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study found significant gender inequalities in adolescent injury risk, which were largely attributable to boys' football injuries. Focusing prevention efforts on making football safer would, then, be a sensible strategy for reducing the overall burden of adolescent injury and for reducing sex inequalities in injury risk; however further research is needed to understand how the risks differ between organized and informal football. These findings are also interesting because of what they suggest about teenage girls' lack of participation in sport and habitual physical activity. This is clearly of public health concern because of the links between physical inactivity and a range of health problems.

PMID:
16815504
DOI:
10.1016/j.puhe.2006.02.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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