Body shape, fear of falling, physical performance, and falls among individuals aged 55 years and above

Sheng Hui Kioh, Sumaiyah Mat, Shahrul B. Kamaruzzaman, Fatimah Ibrahim, Mas Sahidayana Mokhtar, Noran N. Hairi, Robert G. Cumming, Phyo Kyaw Myint, Maw Pin Tan (Corresponding Author), MELoR investigators

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To evaluate the relationship between waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and fall-related outcomes in community-dwelling individuals aged 55 and above.

Cross-sectional data obtained from the first wave of the Malaysian Elders Longitudinal Research (MELoR) study were utilized for this study. Participants aged 55 years and over were recruited using simple random sampling from the electoral rolls of three local parliamentary constituencies. Socio-demographics, falls history and medical history were obtained through home-based computer-assisted interviews while anthropometric measurements, including WHR, and physical performance were obtained during hospital-based health checks. WHR was categorized into three arbitrary categories stratified by gender.

Data on both falls and WHR were available for 1335 participants, mean age ± standard deviation (SD) = 68.4 ± 7.1 years. Logistic regression analyses using dummy variables revealed that individuals within the higher WHR group were significantly more likely to report a history of fall in the preceding 12 months {adjusted odds ratio (aOR) [95% confidence interval (CI)] = 1.78 (1.18–2.67)}, fear of falling [aOR (95% CI) = 1.58 (1.08–2.32)], impaired timed-up-and-go [2.14 (1.44–3.17)] and reduced functional reach [1.68 (1.18–2.38)] compared to those with lower WHR. A higher WHR remained independently associated with increased risk of falls compared to those with lower WHR after additional adjustment for fear of falling and functional performance.

Our finding suggests WHR as an independent risk factor for higher risk of fall which may indicate body shape as a potentially modifiable risk factor for falls in adults in aged 55 years and over.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-808
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Geriatric Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date29 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank all MELoR investigations for their help during the data collection. Additionally, we would also like to thank to our funders. The MELoR study was funded by a High Impact Research Grant from the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Malaysia ((UM.C/625/1/HIR/MOHE/ASH/02). We would also like to acknowledge the financial support provided by University of Malaya under the Wellness Research Centre (WRC) Grand Challenge grant (GC002A-HTM).


  • Accidental falls
  • Aged
  • Obesity
  • Waist circumference
  • Hip circumference


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