Health and lifestyle risk factors for falls in a large population-based sample of older people in Australia

Rebecca J. Mitchell*, Wendy L. Watson, Andrew Milat, Amy Z Q Chung, Stephen Lord

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Fall-related injuries among older people is a significant public health issue. Method: To identify medical, general health and lifestyle factors associated with falls and multiple falls in older persons, a representative sample of people aged 65 + years living in the community in New South Wales (NSW) Australia were surveyed regarding their falls experience, lifestyle and general health. Results: One-quarter of respondents indicated they had fallen in the past 12 months. People who fell were more likely to be aged 85 + years, have cataracts, musculoskeletal system and connective tissue disorders, major diseases of the circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems, use four or more medications, use a mobility aid and be overweight than non-fallers. Individuals aged 85 + years and those who experienced circulatory diseases, used four or more medications and used mobility aids were more likely to experience multiple falls. Discussion: This representative population-based survey reinforces the multi-factorial nature of falls and the complex interaction of risk factors that increase the likelihood of individuals having a fall or multiple falls. Agencies focused on community-based fall prevention strategies should adopt a systematic, integrated approach to reduce the burden of fall injury at the population-level and should have mechanisms in place at the population-level to monitor the success of fall reduction strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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