Obesity worsens injury and cost impacts, Australian Government report

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th November 2011

Obesity and injury are major health burdens on society, and the two are most likely linked, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, ‘Obesity and Injury in Australia: A Review of the Literature’, suggests that the probability of falls, trips, or stumbles rises with obesity.

The report suggests that, in children, the risk of falls – and therefore likelihood of face, tooth, and musculoskeletal injuries – also increases with obesity.

Professor James Harrison of the AIHW’s National Injury Surveillance Unit said, “Sleep apnoea is strongly associated with obesity, and this condition greatly increases the risk of road injury, due to the fatigue experienced by sufferers.”

Outcomes of injury also affected by obesity

Professor Harrison said, “The average length of stay in hospital is significantly longer for obese injured patients than for patients who are not obese. They may also have greater requirements for respiratory support, and are more likely to suffer certain complications of care, such as pneumonia, renal failure and sepsis, during their time in hospital.”

The AIHW is a national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.