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Kenny Vigil
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Premature Death Data


YPLLs can show the burden of premature deaths due to a particular cause of death within a population. YPLLs can also be used to distinguish the burden of premature death in populations. Unlike crude and standard age-adjusted measures, YPLL emphasizes the processes underlying premature death in a population.The New Mexico Department of Health is releasing information regarding areas of the state with the lowest and highest premature mortality. Premature mortality, known as “Years of Potential Life Lost Before Age 75,” or YPLL, is one measure to look at overall health status. In addition to looking at the number of deaths, YPLL also considers the age of the decedent. The measure is the sum of all the years of life lost among persons who died at an age younger than 75 years, and gives a higher weight to deaths of younger persons. A 30-year-old would contribute 45 years to the measure, whereas a 70-year-old would contribute five. A high YPLL indicates more persons died at younger ages.

New Mexico counties with the lowest YPLL from 2010-2014 were Harding, Los Alamos, Dona Ana and Sandoval Counties. Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties ranked 7 and 8 on the list, respectively. Counties with the highest YPLL during the same period were Rio Arriba, Sierra, McKinley, Quay and Mora counties.

Counties are often the smallest geography for which data are available. But in New Mexico, we have several rural counties whose population size is small, where chance fluctuations may easily be misinterpreted, and larger urban counties whose populations are too diverse to be represented by a single, overall number. To improve assessment of health status in New Mexico, the Department of Health uses a set of geographies called “Small Areas.” The 108 New Mexico Small Areas combine our smallest counties, and provide sub-county data for our more populous counties.

View the Years of Potential Life Lost (Before Age 75) Indicator Report for YPLL data from New Mexico small areas during years 2009-2013.

One of the things that is easy to see on the small area map found there is that both Sandoval and Bernalillo counties have wide variation within their borders. For instance, higher-income areas, such as northeast Albuquerque, have lower YPLL values compared with lower-income areas in central Albuquerque.

Deaths that contribute the most to a high YPLL are injury deaths, because the decedents are typically younger, and cancer and heart disease, because there are many deaths from those causes. Violent deaths, such as suicide and homicide, also contribute significantly to large YPLL values in New Mexico, as do chronic liver disease deaths.

The NM-IBIS system can be used to query New Mexico mortality data to further explore the causes of YPLL in high early-mortality areas. For instance, Small Area 8, around the intersection of Albuquerque’s Lomas and Broadway Blvd. has the highest YPLL (14,088.6) of the 108 small areas. The leading cause of YPLL there is unintentional injuries (3,061.0 years of potential life lost annually per 100,000 population). Closer examination reveals that, of those unintentional injury YPLLs, two-thirds of them (2,027.3) are from poisoning, and most of those (1,838.8) are from unintentional drug overdose deaths. Only one of New Mexico’s small areas has a higher number of YPLL from unintentional drug overdose, and that is Small Area 74, in southeast Rio Arriba County.

The New Mexico Health Department makes data available to anyone through NM-IBIS to help communities better understand what’s happening where they live, and to help leaders identify strategies to improve health.

Visit the Indicator-Based Information System section of our website to learn more.


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We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Kenny Vigil at 505-841-5871 (Office) or 505-470-2290 (Mobile) with your questions.


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