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Rural v metro: geographical differences in sports injury hospital admissions across Victoria

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Injury prevention is one of the Australian National Health Priority Areas.1 Injuries requiring medical attention place considerable demands on the health care system and are increasingly being recognised as a significant public health problem.2 Recent statewide data from Victoria show that the public health burden of sports injury, as a particular context for hospitalised injury, has increased significantly in recent times.3,4 Understanding whether sports injury rates vary by geographic regions in Vic would inform better health service delivery to redress identified health inequalities across regions and aid targeting of preventive programs.

Analysis of International Classification of Diseases-coded hospitalisation data routinely collected from all Victorian public and private hospitals admissions over the financial years 2003–04 to 2011–12 was undertaken. The cases selected had a principal diagnosis of injury and an activity code indicating sport. They were classified according to the Local Government Area (LGA; 31 metropolitan, 49 rural/regional) of the patients’ usual residence. Population-adjusted sports injury hospital admission rates were based on annual LGA populations; trends were analysed by negative binomial regression.

The overall annual number of…