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Prev Med. 2016 Oct;91:217-223. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.08.044. Epub 2016 Aug 26.

Body mass index, falls, and injurious falls among U.S. adults: Findings from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

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College of Health and Human Sciences, Baylor University, Waco, TX, United States. Electronic address:
School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States.


Falls are an important health concern because they are associated with loss of independence and disability, particularly among women. We determined the age- and sex-specific prevalence of injurious falls among adults in the United States and examined the impact of obesity on fall risk. Self-reported falls, injurious falls, and health histories were obtained from 280,035 adults aged 45-79years in the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Body mass index was categorized as underweight (<18.5kg/m2), normal weight (18.5-24.9kg/m2), overweight 25-29.9kg/m2), class I obesity (30.0-34.9kg/m2), or class II/III obesity (≥35.0kg/m2) based on self-reported height and weight. Data were analyzed using weighted age- and sex-specific prevalence rates and Poisson regression. Overall, 11.0% reported ≥1 injurious fall in the previous 12months. Mid-life women 55-59years reported the highest prevalence of injurious falls (15.4%). Among mid-life women, overweight was associated with injurious falls (RR=1.17; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.28), but overweight was not associated with falling among other age-sex groups. Class II/III obesity was associated with injurious falls among all age-sex groups. After considering the mediators like health conditions (depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis) and behaviors (physical activity, sleep), the association of class II/III obesity and injurious fall risk persisted only among mid-life women (RR=1.23; 95% CI: 1.12, 1.36). Not only are mid-life women at high risk for falls, but the class II/III obesity is a risk factor for injurious falls. Targeting mid-life women for fall and injury prevention is an important aim for practitioners, particularly given unique correlates of falling for this group.


Falls; Injury falls; Obesity

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