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Characteristics of non-fatal fall injuries in rural India
  1. Rakhi Dandona1,2,3,
  2. G Anil Kumar1,2,
  3. Rebecca Ivers3,
  4. Rohina Joshi3,
  5. Bruce Neal3,
  6. Lalit Dandona1,2,3,4
  1. 1Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India
  2. 2George Institute for International Health – India, Hyderabad, India
  3. 3School of Public Health and George Institute for International Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  4. 4Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to R Dandona, Public Health Foundation of India, PHD House, 4/2 Sirifort Institutional Area, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi 110016, India; rakhi.dandona{at}


Background Little is known about the context, risk factors and severity of non-fatal fall-related injury in India.

Objective To report these data for a rural population in the East and West Godavari districts of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Methods In a cross-sectional population-based survey, 3686 participants aged ≥30 years (83.6% participation) selected by stratified random sampling were interviewed in 44 villages. Participants recalled injuries in the preceding 12 months that required them to stay away from their usual daily duties for at least 1 day irrespective of whether medical attention was sought for that injury.

Results The annual incidence of non-fatal fall-related injury based on a 3-month recall period was 3.30% (95% CI 2.54% to 4.05%) and 9.22% (95% CI 7.74% to 10.69%) for men and women, respectively, with the incidence increasing with age. For the most recent non-fatal fall-related injury, the home was the most common place of injury for women, and the farm for men, with the former more likely to fall while climbing up/down (20.9%) compared with the latter (10.3%). Most falls were at the same level (71.7%) and slipping was the most common cause of fall (40%). Limbs (legs, 55%; hand/arm, 33.3%) were the most commonly injured body part. Fifty-six per cent reported seeking treatment outside home for injury, of whom 74.6% were women; and 8.4% reported being admitted to a hospital.

Conclusion Falls are a significant public health problem facing women in rural India. Fall prevention strategies should be explored and implemented within the Indian context.

  • Falls
  • incidence
  • India
  • risk factors
  • women
  • public health
  • rural

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  • Funding Institutional funds; R Dandona is supported in part by the National Health and Medical Research Council Capacity Building Grant in Injury Prevention and Trauma Care, Australia.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committees of the University of Sydney in Australia and the Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Hyderabad, India.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.