Examine the burden of disease in the United States to provide important information on which parameter is to base decisions on public health priorities.

To do this, we will utilize mortality data for the United States. In the first part of this assignment, you will download and examine mortality data for your home state.

Go to USA Causes of Death by Age and Gender

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  • Choose your home state under the Choose State option (panel on left hand side)
  • Select BOTH under the Choose gender option in the middle panel.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and read the fine print to learn for which year the mortality data have been tabulated.
  • Copy and paste the relevant mortality data into Excel.
    • Drag your mouse over all of the Cause of Death rows, (50 rows), right click, and select Copy,
    • Open Excel and paste your selection into Excel. You should have a spreadsheet with 50 row and 19 columns (Columns A-S).

For the first part of the assignment, you will prepare a histogram of the leading causes of death (regardless of age) in your state. Follow the steps below in order to prepare your histogram:

  • Sort the Data
    • The numbers of deaths, all ages, are given in Column C.
    • Select all the columns.
    • Then, select Data>Sort>Sort by Column C, Values, largest to smallest. (Make sure that my data has headers is not selected.
    • You now have the leading causes of death in your state in Column A (cause) and Column C (frequency).
  • If you already know how to draw a histogram in Excel, proceed to do so with Columns A and C, making sure to truncate the data to the 30 leading causes.
  • If you do not know how to draw a histogram in Excel, here’s one method:
    • Choose the Chart Wizard, chart type column, chart sub-type clustered column (Step 1).
    • Click Next for Step 2.
    • At Step 2, Click the Series button, which will open a new box.
    • Click Add under Series,
      • Enter Causes of Death in the Name box;
      • Clear the Values box, then
      • Drag your mouse over the 30 largest frequencies for the Values; and,
      • Drag your mouse over the first 30 causes of death (Column A) for the Category (X) axis labels box.
  • Click Next, and you’ll be brought to the Chart Options box.
  • Add a suitable title (e.g., Leading Causes of Death, 2010, your state)
  • Label the Y axis Frequency.
  • Click Next, and place the histogram in a new worksheet.

You now have a histogram with the leading causes of death for your state. This presents one picture of the burden of disease in your state, but it isn’t the only picture. We shall now look at a different metric: years of life lost due to each cause.

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