Falls in older aged adults in 22 European countries: incidence, mortality and burden of disease from 1990 to 2017

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


INTRODUCTION: Falls in older aged adults are an important public health problem. Insight into differences in fall-related injury rates between countries can serve as important input for identifying and evaluating prevention strategies. The objectives of this study were to compare Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2017 estimates on incidence, mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to fall-related injury in older adults across 22 countries in the Western European region and to examine changes over a 28-year period.

METHODS: We performed a secondary database descriptive study using the GBD 2017 results on age-standardised fall-related injury in older adults aged 70 years and older in 22 countries from 1990 to 2017.

RESULTS: In 2017, in the Western European region, 13 840 per 100 000 (uncertainty interval (UI) 11 837-16 113) older adults sought medical treatment for fall-related injury, ranging from 7594 per 100 000 (UI 6326-9032) in Greece to 19 796 per 100 000 (UI 15 536-24 233) in Norway. Since 1990, fall-related injury DALY rates showed little change for the whole region, but patterns varied widely between countries. Some countries (eg, Belgium and Netherlands) have lost their favourable positions due to an increasing fall-related injury burden of disease since 1990.

CONCLUSIONS: From 1990 to 2017, there was considerable variation in fall-related injury incidence, mortality, DALY rates and its composites in the 22 countries in the Western European region. It may be useful to assess which fall prevention measures have been taken in countries that showed continuous low or decreasing incidence, death and DALY rates despite ageing of the population.


  • Juanita A Haagsma
  • Branko F Olij
  • Marek Majdan
  • Ed F van Beeck
  • Theo Vos
  • Chris D Castle
  • Zachary V Dingels
  • Jack T Fox
  • Erin B Hamilton
  • Zichen Liu
  • Nicholas L S Roberts
  • Dillon O Sylte
  • Olatunde Aremu
  • Till Winfried Bärnighausen
  • Antonio M Borzì
  • Andrew M Briggs
  • Juan J Carrero
  • Cyrus Cooper
  • Ziad El-Khatib
  • Christian Lycke Ellingsen
  • Seyed-Mohammad Fereshtehnejad
  • Irina Filip
  • Florian Fischer
  • Josep Maria Haro
  • Jost B Jonas
  • Ai Koyanagi
  • Raimundas Lunevicius
  • Tuomo J Meretoja
  • Shafiu Mohammed
  • Ashish Pathak
  • Amir Radfar
  • Salman Rawaf
  • David Laith Rawaf
  • Lidia Sanchez Riera
  • Ivy Shiue
  • Tommi Juhani Vasankari
  • Spencer L James
  • Suzanne Polinder
External organisations
  • University of Trnava
  • University of Washington
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Harvard University
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • University of Oxford
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies
  • University of Helsinki
  • Heidelberg University
  • UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Consumer Safety Institute
  • Birmingham City University
  • University of Catania
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • University of Ottawa
  • A. T. Still University, Mesa
  • Bielefeld University
  • Park St John of God Health
  • Beijing Tongren Hospital
  • University of Liverpool
  • RD Gardi Medical College
  • University College London
  • University of Sydney
  • Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Orthopedics
  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Original languageEnglish
JournalInjury Prevention
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Feb 28
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.