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Am J Prev Med. 2005 Jul;29(1):41-5.

Obesity and risk of nonfatal unintentional injuries.

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Center for Injury Research and Policy, Columbus Children's Institute and Children's Hospital, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43205, USA.



Obesity is recognized as a risk factor for multiple chronic diseases. Yet, it is unclear whether obesity is also associated with an increased risk of nonfatal unintentional injury.


A population-based survey was conducted among adults aged > or = 18 years from January 1999 through October 2000. The relationship was investigated between body mass index (BMI), defined as weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2), and risk of nonfatal unintentional injuries among 2575 respondents aged > or = 20 years by comparing percentage of adults between obese and nonobese respondents who had injuries. Multivariate logistic regression further examined this relationship by controlling for confounding demographics.


A total of 370 respondents reported injuries in the previous year. We observed a linear dose-response trend among women. An estimated 7.0% of underweight individuals (BMI <18.5) reported injuries. In contrast, 26.0% of men and 21.7% of women with a BMI > or = 35.0 reported injuries. The odds ratio of injuries for individuals with a BMI > or = 35.0 was 2.00 (95% confidence interval=1.07-3.74, p<0.05) after controlling for gender, age, education level, marital status, family poverty status, and area of residence.


A marginally significant association between extreme obesity and elevated risk of injuries was observed. Efforts to promote optimal body weight may reduce not only the risk of chronic diseases but also the risk of unintentional injury among overweight and obese individuals.

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