BMI and Central Obesity With Falls Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Published:February 09, 2018DOI:


      This study examined the associations of BMI category and central obesity status, with falls among community-dwelling older adults in the U.S.


      Data were drawn from the 2012 and 2014 U.S. Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal panel study funded by the National Institute of Aging. The study participants were U.S. community-dwelling older adults aged ≥65 years (N=3,383). Multiple logistic regression and Poisson regression analyses examined the associations of BMI category and central obesity (waist circumference >102 cm in men and >88 cm in women) with experiencing a fall and fall injury, after adjusting for all other covariates. A prospective analysis was conducted in which independent variables from 2012 were examined in relation to dependent variables measured in the same participants in 2014.


      Overall, 35.2% of older adults experienced at least one fall in the past 2 years. Compared with those who were not, centrally obese older adults were more likely to experience a fall (AOR=1.37, 95% CI=1.01, 1.85) and fall more frequently (incidence rate ratio=1.15, 95% CI=1.03, 1.29). Fallers in the obese BMI category were less likely than normal-weight fallers to experience a fall injury (AOR=0.56, 95% CI=0.35, 0.91).


      These findings suggest that (1) central obesity be measured when assessing older adults’ fall risk and (2) specific community prevention strategies for centrally obese older adults be developed to better prevent falls and fall-related injuries.
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