The current evidence on the relationship between a higher body mass index (BMI) and falls in older adults is conflicting. This study, therefore, evaluated the relationship between BMI and falls and explored underlying mechanisms for this relationship. Data from 1,340 individuals from the Malaysian Elders Longitudinal Research study, obtained through home-based computer-assisted interviews and followed by hospital-based health checks, were utilized. A history of the presence of falls in the previous 12 months was obtained. The presence of at least one fall in the past 12 months was associated with a higher BMI (odds ratio = 1.03, 95% confidence interval [1.01, 1.06]). The relationship between a higher BMI and falls was, however, attenuated by a lower percentage of lean body mass, which accounted for 69% of the total effect of BMI on the risk of falls. Future studies should now investigate this aforementioned relationship prospectively.
Kioh, Mat, Kamaruzzaman, Ibrahim, Mokhtar, and Tan are with Ageing and Age-Associated Disorders Research Group, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kioh and Myint are with Ageing Clinical & Experimental Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland. Ibrahim and Tan are with the Center for Innovation in Medical Engineering (CIME), Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ibrahim and Mokhtar are also with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kamaruzzaman and Tan are also with the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mokhtar, Hairi, and Tan are with the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evidence Based Medicine, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Cumming is with the School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Tan is also with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Sunway University, Malaysia.