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Your Chances of Dying
The National Center for Health Statistics reports the average life expectancy in the United States is 77.9 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the leading causes of death in the United States are (in descending order) heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. (ref: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm)
There are so many ways to die early; from risky outdoor activities to smoking. At Best Health Degrees we decided to take a look at just how much you increase your chances of dying through these activities. Life after all is one big series of risks. And some risks are worth the shot. One study shows people have a 1 in 100,000 chance of dying while attending a dance party. Another study shows the odds of dying while skydiving in the United States is 1 in 101,083 jumps. What follows is a list of activities, from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and your chances of dying from them.
Sports and Recreational Activities
Overall, snow boarding fatality rate: 0.455 per million participant visits. (Source: Shealy, Ettlinger and Johnson )
Overall, skiing fatality rate: 0.702 per million participant visits. (Source: Shealy, Ettlinger and Johnson)
Long distance cross-country ski races in Sweden mortality rate: 0.11 per million1 (Source: Postgraduate Medical Journal)
Skiing at downhill ski resorts in Utah: 2.46 deaths per million exposure days. (Source: Postgraduate Medical Journal)
The mortality rate for specific activities undertaken in the United States:
The Risk of Hiking and Mountain Climbing
Expert mountain climbers: Annual mortality risk of 1 in 167.
Recreational climbing - Annual mortality risk of 1 in 1,750.
Mountain hiking - Annual mortality risk of 1 in 15,700.
(Source for all three activities: Russell Newcombe & Sally Woods Centre for Applied Psychology, School of Human Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Henry Cotton Campus, Webster St., Liverpool, L3 2ET, England )
Regarding Yosemite trad climbing, the chances of dying when climbing actively every third weekend for two days for a year are: 35 days/year x 2.5 deaths/year / 37,500 climber-days/year or 1/429 (John Dill, article about death and injury in Yosemite 1970 through 1990).
The mortality rates among trekkers in Nepal during two periods between 1984 and 1991: 0.014 and 0.015 per 100 trekkers.
On Denali, the highest mountain in Alaska: 0.308 deaths for every 100 mountaineers who register with the National Park Service.
On Mt. Rainier: Estimated mortality rate of approximately 0.031 per 100 mountaineers.
Climbing above 6000 m in the Himalayas: 10 to 12.6 deaths for every 100 mountaineers.
(Source for all five activities: Postgraduate Medical Journal)
Mortality rate while mountaineering in Mt McKinley National Park, United States: 100 per 1,000,000 exposure days (Source: Postgraduate Medical Journal)
BASE jumping is one of the world's most dangerous recreational activities, with overall fatalities in 2002 estimated at approximately one fatality per sixty participants (Source). With base jumping, a person jumps with a parachute from a fixed object.
Annual mortality risk (AMR)
Bicycling death rate: 7.1 deaths per one million participants (National Safety Council)
Odds of dying while skydiving in the United States: 1 in 101,083 jumps. (Source)
Odds of dying while bungee jumping: About two in one million chances of death. (Source).
The risk of sudden death during a marathon: 0.8 per 100,000 people. (Source).
The risk of sudden death while participating in a triathlon: 1.5 in 100,000. (Source).
Odds of dying while playing high school or college football: 1 in 59 million ( Harvard School of Public Health).
The Risks of Transportation
Risk of dying in a car accident: 1 in 6,700 (Harvard School of Public Health)
Fatalities per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled: 1.14
Fatalities per 100,000 population: 11.01
Fatalities per 100,000 Licensed Drivers: 16.13
Motorcycles: Fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 21.45
(National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2009))
U.S. general aviation fatalities: 447; flight hours: 20,900,000 (National Transportation safety board 2010).
U.S. general aviation: Fatal accidents per 100,000 Flight Hours 1.27 (National Transportation safety board 2010).
Airliner (Scheduled and nonscheduled Part 21) fatalities per million flight hours: 4.03
Commuter Airline (Scheduled Part 135) Fatalities per million flight hours: 10.74
Commuter plane (Nonscheduled Part 135 - Air taxi on demand) fatalities per million flight hours: 12.24
General aviation (Private Part 91) fatalities per million flight hours: 22.43
(Sources: NTSB Accidents and Accident Rates by NTSB Classification 1998 - 2007)
Men who smoke are 22 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers. Women who smoke are 12 times more likely to die from the disease. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease among middle-aged men and women. People who smoke increase their risk of death from emphysema and bronchitis by almost 10 times.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Lifelong smokers on average have a 50 percent chance of dying from tobacco-related illnesses, with half of them dying before the age of 70. Studies show cigar smokers have 4-10 times the risk of nonsmokers of dying from laryngeal, oral, or esophageal cancers.
(Source: Oral Cancer Foundation)
People who had a medium number of years lived with obesity (between five years and 14.9 years), the risk of mortality more than doubled than for people who had never been obese. The risk of mortality almost tripled for those with the longest duration of obesity (more than 15 years) (Source: Monash University researchers )
Dance parties: 1 in 100,000 chance of dying
Table games: 1 in 100 million chance of dying
Computer games: 1 in 100 million chance of dying (Source for all three activities: Russell Newcombe & Sally Woods Centre for Applied Psychology, School of Human Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Henry Cotton Campus, Webster St., Liverpool, L3 2ET, England ).
Whatever the odds of a person dying during the next year it will be twice as large 8 years from now according to British actuary Benjamin Gompertz in 1825; it's called the "Gompertz Law of human mortality." Your probability of dying during a given year doubles every 8 years.