Mortality in Different Mountain Sports Activities Primarily Practiced in the Summer Season-A Narrative Review
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Millions of people engage in mountain sports activities worldwide. Although leisure-time physical activity is associated with significant health benefits, mountain sports activities also bear an inherent risk for injury and death. However, death risk may vary across various types of mountain sports activities. Epidemiological data represent an important basis for the development of preventive measures. Therefore, the aim of this review is to compare mortality rates and potential risk factors across different (summer) mountain sports activities. A comprehensive literature search was performed on the death risk (mortality) in mountain sports, primarily practiced during the summer season, i.e., mountain hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, trekking, rock, ice and high-altitude climbing. It was found that the death risk varies considerably between different summer mountain sports. Mortality during hiking, trekking and biking in the mountains was lower compared to that during paragliding, or during rock, ice or high-altitude climbing. Traumatic deaths were more common in activities primarily performed by young adults, whereas the number of deaths resulting from cardiovascular diseases was higher in activities preferred by the elderly such as hiking and trekking. Preventive efforts must consider the diversity of mountain sports activities including differences in risk factors and practitioners and may more particularly focus on high-risk activities and high-risk individuals.
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