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Non-fatal injuries among Chinese aged 65 years and older: findings from the Fourth National Health Services Survey
  1. Guoqing Hu1,
  2. Keqin Rao2,
  3. Susan P Baker1
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China
  2. 2Center for Health Statistics and Information, the Ministry of Health of China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Susan P. Baker, Center for Injury Research and Policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; sbaker{at}


Objective To understand the epidemiology of non-fatal injuries among adults aged 65 years and older in China.

Design Cross-sectional survey (the Fourth National Health Services Survey of China).

Participants Urban and rural residents aged 65 years and older from 56 400 households in China.

Main Outcome Measures The incidence rate was calculated as the number of persons injured in the previous 12 months divided by the population×1000.

Results The incidence rate of non-fatal injuries among elderly individuals in the previous 12 months was 37.5 per 1000 population. Home, street, working environment, and public buildings were the most common places of occurrence, accounting for more than 90% of injuries. Falls were the leading cause of non-fatal injuries. After adjusting for other factors, Han people were 39% more likely to be injured than non-Han people, and the divorced and the widowed were found to have, respectively, 4.6 and 2.2 times the risk of injury compared with single persons, p<0.05. Education, per capita household income and urbanisation did not significantly affect the injury risk when confounding factors were controlled for.

Conclusion Almost 4% of adults aged 65 years and over sustain injuries each year in China. Falls should be a priority of injury prevention for elderly people, efficient home injury prevention programmes need to be developed, and the divorced and widowed should be targeted as groups at high risk of injury.

  • China
  • developing nations
  • elderly
  • falls
  • incidence
  • injuries
  • non-fatal
  • socioeconomic status

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  • Funding This study was supported by the Center for Health Statistics and Information of Ministry of Health of China, the China Medical Board of New York (CMB) and the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant CCR302486).

  • Competing interests None.

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