Here are the top five things killing Floridians, new study says

Vector Illustration heart rhythm EKG
Vector Illustration heart rhythm EKG
Published April 11, 2018

Florida is ranked 29th in the nation for the highest rates of years of life lost, according to a new medical study.

Opioid use disorders skyrocketed more than 750 percent over the past 26 years in Florida alone, according to "The State of U.S. Heath" study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But the good news is the number of deaths from car crashes dropped 15 percent in Florida over the same time period.

The study examined deaths from 1990 to 2016, covering 333 diseases and injuries, and 84 risk factors, in an effort to quantify health internationally. It includes estimates of prevalence, incidence, death, life expectancy and other summary health metrics for all 50 states, and the nation overall.

Florida's death rates were fairly in line with the rest of the county. But here's a list of the top five health issues that contribute to the highest rates of death in the Sunshine State.

1. Smoking

2. High body-mass index (or issues with being overweight)

3. High blood sugar

4. High blood pressure

5. Drug use

Smoking is still the No. 1 risk factor in death and disability in Florida, which was the same in 1990 and 2016. It is a leading cause of death nationally, even though death rates are declining. Issues related to opioid use rose significantly nationwide, not just in Florida. Opioid use disorders rose from being the 11th-leading cause of disability in the nation in 1990 to the seventh leading cause in 2016.

In addition, low back pain topped the list of problems which caused Florida residents to live with years of disability in 2016, followed by diabetes and neck pain, according to the study. Diabetes and falls ranked fifth and 10th on the list respectively, and they represent the largest increases in nonfatal health loss in Florida over the 26-year period.

Life loss from chronic kidney disease due to diabetes also increased dramatically, at a rate of 232 percent.

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.