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Chronic diseases and individual risk for workplace injury
  1. Keshia M Pollack
  1. Correspondence to Dr Keshia M Pollack, Occupational Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Training Program, Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Room 557, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; kpollack{at}

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Among adults in the USA, the prevalence of obesity is approximately 36%, diabetes or prediabetes 11% and asthma 8%.1–3 Globally, deaths from non-communicable diseases, including cancer, ischaemic heart disease and stroke, accounted for two of every three deaths in 2010.4 Based on the prevalence of these illnesses, along with the estimated high medical costs to treat them, chronic diseases are considered the major public health challenge of the 21st century.5 At the same time, fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries also exact a significant toll on society. In 2011, nearly 4700 workers were killed on the job and another three million non-fatal injuries and illness were reported by private industry employers in the USA.6 ,7 Around the world, road traffic injuries, including those that occur during work, are also a leading cause of death.5 While chronic diseases and injury tend to be studied and addressed in separate domains, the nexus of these areas is …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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