Background Falls can lead to severe health loss including death. Past research has shown that falls are an important cause of death and disability worldwide. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (GBD 2017) provides a comprehensive assessment of morbidity and mortality from falls.
Methods Estimates for mortality, years of life lost (YLLs), incidence, prevalence, years lived with disability (YLDs) and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were produced for 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2017 for all ages using the GBD 2017 framework. Distributions of the bodily injury (eg, hip fracture) were estimated using hospital records.
Results Globally, the age-standardised incidence of falls was 2238 (1990–2532) per 100 000 in 2017, representing a decline of 3.7% (7.4 to 0.3) from 1990 to 2017. Age-standardised prevalence was 5186 (4622–5849) per 100 000 in 2017, representing a decline of 6.5% (7.6 to 5.4) from 1990 to 2017. Age-standardised mortality rate was 9.2 (8.5–9.8) per 100 000 which equated to 695 771 (644 927–741 720) deaths in 2017. Globally, falls resulted in 16 688 088 (15 101 897–17 636 830) YLLs, 19 252 699 (13 725 429–26 140 433) YLDs and 35 940 787 (30 185 695–42 903 289) DALYs across all ages. The most common injury sustained by fall victims is fracture of patella, tibia or fibula, or ankle. Globally, age-specific YLD rates increased with age.
Conclusions This study shows that the burden of falls is substantial. Investing in further research, fall prevention strategies and access to care is critical.
- burden of disease
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Funding This study was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1152504).
Competing interests SJ reports grants from Sanofi Pasteur outside the submitted work; AB reports personal fees from World Health Organization outside the submitted work; CC reports personal fees from Amgen, personal fees from Danone, personal fees from Eli Lilly, personal fees from GlaxoSmithKline, personal fees from Kyowa Kirin, personal fees from Medtronic, personal fees from Merck, personal fees from Nestle, personal fees from Novartis, personal fees from Pfizer, personal fees from Roche, personal fees from Servier, personal fees from Shire, personal fees from Takeda, and personal fees from UCB outside the submitted work.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data are available upon reasonable request. Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.
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