A major new study by The Lancet has indicated death rates among children globally have fallen dramatically over the last 50 years.

Mortality rates in children aged one to nine have fallen from between 80% and 93% in the countries that took part in the study - largely due to fewer deaths from infectious diseases in the 50 countries which took part.

However, mortality rates in teenagers increased, and were attributed to violence, road traffic accidents and suicide. Young men aged 15-24 are now two to three times more likely to die prematurely than young boys aged one to four, claim the researchers.

"Modern life is much more toxic for teenagers and young people," said Dr Russell Viner of University College London, who led the study.

"The teenage years were the healthiest time of our life. It's no longer true.

"We've had rises in road traffic accidents, rises in violence, rises in suicide which we don't see in young children."  

Posted by Robert Mair on 30.3.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com