Nutritional Status, Body Mass Index, and the Risk of Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Academic Article


  • © 2018 AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine Objectives: To evaluate the association between nutritional status, defined on the basis of a multidimensional evaluation, and body mass index (BMI) with the risk of falls and recurrent falls in community-dwelling older people. Design: Systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Setting and Participants: Community-dwelling older adults. Measures: A systematic literature review was conducted on prospective studies identified through electronic and hand searches until October 2017. A random effects meta-analysis was used to evaluate the relative risk (RR) of experiencing falls and recurrent falls (≥2 falls within at least 6 months) on the basis of nutritional status, defined by multidimensional scores. A random effects dose-response meta-analysis was used to evaluate the association between BMI and the risk of falls and recurrent falls. Results: People who were malnourished or those at risk for malnutrition had a pooled 45% higher risk of experiencing at least 1 fall than were those well-nourished (9510 subjects). Increased falls risk was observed in subjects malnourished versus well-nourished [RR 1.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18-2.28; 3 studies, 8379 subjects], whereas no substantial results were observed for risk of recurrent falls. A U-shaped association was detected between BMI and the risk for falls (P <.001), with the nadir between 24.5 and 30 (144,934 subjects). Taking a BMI of 23.5 as reference, the pooled RR of falling ranged between 1.09 (95% CI 1.04-1.15) for a BMI of 17, to 1.07 (95% CI 0.92-1.24) for a BMI of 37.5. No associations were observed between BMI and recurrent falls (120,185 subjects). Conclusions/Implications: The results of our work suggest therefore that nutritional status and BMI should be evaluated when assessing the risk for falls in older age.
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    Author List

  • Trevisan C; Crippa A; Ek S; Welmer AK; Sergi G; Maggi S; Manzato E; Bea JW; Cauley JA; Decullier E
  • Start Page

  • 569
  • End Page

  • 582.e7
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 5