DOI: 10.12809/hkmj154593
Obesity management is also part of fall prevention
Martin Hofmeister, PhD (Dr. oec. troph.)
Consumer Centre of the German Federal State of Bavaria, Department Food and Nutrition, Mozartstraße 9, D-80336 Munich, Germany
Corresponding author: Dr Martin Hofmeister (
 Full paper in PDF
To the Editor—I read with interest the article “Falls prevention in the elderly: translating evidence into practice” by Luk et al in the April 2015 issue of the Hong Kong Medical Journal.1 As obese individuals have a significantly higher risk of fall compared with normal-weight elderly persons,2 I believe weight status and waist circumference should be considered when assessing fall risk.3 4 Multifactorial fall prevention strategies should include the prevention of osteosarcopenic obesity and thus, in addition to regular physical exercise, should include advice about an adequate diet for weight reduction, as well as an appropriate dietary protein intake of 1.0 to 1.2 g/kg bodyweight/day.5 In my practice, the introduction of two simple everyday exercises has achieved very good results in the improvement of muscle strength and dual-task performance to reduce fall risk in obese individuals. In the first instance, I ask patients to rise from a chair without assistance (10-15 repetitions, 2 times a day). Second, I make them balance along an imaginary or existing line with a length of several metres twice a day, while counting backwards in increments of 3 (ie 90, 87, 84, etc). They then walk backwards along the same line.
1. Luk JK, Chan TY, Chan DK. Falls prevention in the elderly: translating evidence into practice. Hong Kong Med J 2015;21:165-9. CrossRef
2. Mitchell RJ, Lord SR, Harvey LA, Close JC. Obesity and falls in older people: mediating effects of disease, sedentary behavior, mood, pain and medication use. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2015;60:52-8. CrossRef
3. Ren J, Waclawczyk A, Hartfield D, et al. Analysis of fall injuries by body mass index. South Med J 2014;107:294-300. CrossRef
4. Lin CH, Liao KC, Pu SJ, Chen YC, Liu MS. Associated factors for falls among the community-dwelling older people assessed by annual geriatric health examinations. PLoS One 2011;6:e18976. CrossRef
5. Hita-Contreras F, Martínez-Amat A, Cruz-Díaz D, Pérez-López FR. Osteosarcopenic obesity and fall prevention strategies. Maturitas 2015;80:126-32. CrossRef