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Sheng H. Kioh, Sumaiyah Mat, Shahrul B. Kamaruzzaman, Fatimah Ibrahim, Mas S. Mokhtar, Noran N. Hairi, Robert G. Cumming, Phyo K. Myint and Maw P. Tan

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.