Violence and Injury Prevention

Falls

A fall is an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level. Within the WHO database fall-related deaths and non-fatal injuries exclude those due to assault and intentional self-harm. Falls from animals, burning buildings and transport vehicles, and falls into fire, water and machinery are also excluded.

Globally, an estimated 391 000 people died due to falls in 2002, making it the 2nd leading cause of unintentional injury death globally after road traffic injuries. A quarter of all fatal falls occurred in the high-income countries. Europe and the Western Pacific region combined account for nearly 60 % of the total number of fall-related deaths worldwide

Males in the low- and middle-income countries of Europe have by far the highest fall-related mortality rates worldwide.

In all regions of the world, adults over the age of 70 years, particularly females, have significantly higher fall-related mortality rates than younger people. However, children account for the largest mobidity - almost 50% of the total number of DALYs lost globally to falls occur in children under 15 years of age.

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Ms. Laura Sminkey
Communications Officer
Email: sminkeyl@who.int
Tel.: +41 22 791 45 47