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There were 7.7 million deaths among children worldwide in 2013, and the most common causes varied widely depending on a child’s age, according to research published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

Here’s what the analysis found:


  • Nearly 6.3 million of those deaths were in children under 5. The leading causes of death in children under 5 included lower respiratory tract infections, preterm birth complications, brain disease from birth trauma or asphyxiation, and malaria and diarrheal deaths.
  • Among children between ages 5 and 9, the most common cause of death was diarrheal disease.
  • The leading cause of death among adolescents between ages 10 and 19 was road injuries. After that, the top causes were HIV/AIDS, self-harm, drowning, and intestinal infectious diseases.
  • Diarrheal deaths are exceedingly prevalent in just a handful of countries — half of the deaths occurred in India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.

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