Nearly 50 percent of deaths in the District in 2007 were traced back to preventable behavior, according to a report released Tuesday by the city Department of Health.
The leading cause of death, representing 1,367 of 5,168 deaths of District residents in 2007, was heart disease followed by cancer (1,159), cerebrovascular disease (200), accidents (200) and HIV/AIDS (188), according to the report.
The report links heart disease and cancer to tobacco use, which is preventable.
The health department used various formulas to arrive at the conclusions in the report, marking the District as the first city and third jurisdiction to used residential data to complete the study.
"Information like this is the key to residents making smart decisions about their health," Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said in a statement. "This report illustrates clearly how much we have to do to help people live healthier lives, because the choices we make can have serious impact on our health."
The report lists the following as the top preventable causes of death:
1. Tobacco - 16.6%
2. Poor diet and physical inactivity - 15.1%
3. Microbial (infectious) agents - 4.6%
4. Alcohol consumption - 2.9%
5. Firearms - 2.7%
6. Medical errors - 2.7%
7. Toxic agents - 2.1%
8. Sexual behavior - 0.8%
9. Illicit drugs - 0.8%
10. Motor vehicles - 0.6%
11. Uninsurance - 0.6%
-- Nikita Stewart