Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

Obese People More Prone to Injury

Reducing Weight May Reduce Disease and Injury

WebMD Health News

July 22, 2005 -- People who are extremely obese are twice as likely to injure themselves as those who weigh less, a new study shows.

Researchers compared injury rates in a large group of adults and found extremely obese adults reported the highest number of personal injuries.

For example, more than one out of four extremely obese men had injured themselves in the past year compared with less than one in five normal weight men.

Examples of extreme obesity are a 5-foot-9-inch man who weighs 235 pounds or more or a 5-foot-4-inch woman who weighs at least 205 pounds.

Undeniable Link

Researchers say this is the first study to look at the risk of personal injury among different weight groups in the general population and suggests that obesity may make people more prone to personal injury.

"There is undeniably a link between obesity and injury risk in adults," states researcher Huiyun Xiang, a researcher at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Ohio State University, in a news release.

"Efforts to promote optimal body weight may reduce not only the risk of chronic diseases, but also the risk of unintentional injuries," says Xiang.

More Weight, More Falls

Researchers surveyed more than 2,500 adults living in Colorado. They collected information on personal injuries reported in the previous year and body mass index (BMI, a measure of weight in relation to height used to indicate obesity).

The results showed that extremely obese men and women reported a much higher number of personal injuries compared with other weight groups. Overall, researchers estimated having a BMI over 35 doubled the risk of personal injury over the past year.

Other findings include:

  • 26% of extremely obese men reported injuries compared with 17% of normal weight men.
  • Nearly 22% of extremely obese women reported injuries compared with 12% of normal weight women.
  • The most common causes of nonfatal injuries among the obese were overexertion and falls.
  • More than half of the injuries among extremely obese people occurred within the home; transportation areas, such as parking lots, ranked a distant second.

"Obesity may limit what a person can physically do," says Xiang. "People with such limitations are often at a higher risk for injury than healthy people."

The results of the study appear in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
Woman trying clothes / dress
Assessment
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections