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Impact of dizziness and obesity on the prevalence of falls and fall‐related injuries


Quantify the relationships between dizziness, falls, and obesity among adults.Cross-sectional analysis of a national health survey.Adult respondents in the 2008 National Health Interview Survey balance module were analyzed. With demographic information, data for balance and dizziness problems, reported falls, injuries from falls, and body mass index were extracted. Associations between balance/dizziness problems and falls or injuries from falls were determined. The additional association between obesity and falls or fall-related injuries in the setting of a balance/dizziness problem was determined.Among 216.8 ± 3.5 million adult Americans, 24.2 ± 0.7 million reported dizziness in the past 12 months (11.1% ± 0.3%; mean age, 45.9 ± 0.2 years; 51.7% ± 0.5% female), 11.5% ± 0.3% had fallen in the prior 12 months, and 26.3% ± 0.4% were obese. Among individuals reporting dizziness, 34.3% ± 1.3% reported falls, whereas only 9.1% ± 0.3% of nondizzy individuals reported a fall (odds ratio [OR]: 5.1; P < .001). Among dizzy individuals who reported a fall, 45.8% ± 2.1% were injured by the fall versus 35.6% ± 1.4% nondizzy individuals who fell (OR: 1.5; P < .001). The addition of obesity to dizziness increased the odds of falling by 1.3 (95% confidence interval: 1.2-1.5; P < .001) but did not significantly increase the odds of fall-related injury (P = .110).Dizziness/balance problems are strongly associated with both an increased tendency to fall and increased injury rate from falls among adults. The addition of obesity to dizziness was associated with a higher rate of falling but was not associated with a significantly higher rate of fall-related injury. Balance problems in conjunction with obesity need to be targeted in fall-prevention efforts.2b.

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