Older adults who carry their weight around their middle (apple shape) may have a higher risk for falls than those who carry their weight around their hips (pear shape).
An observational study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that people with central obesity were 37 percent more likely to fall than those without it.
Scientists speculate that the increased risk was the result of a higher center of gravity. It’s well known that a large waist is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Men should aim for a waist size of less than 40 inches and women, less than 35 inches.
Another falling risk
Knee buckling may also increase the risk of falling, according to Arthritis Care and Research. When the knee gives way from pain and osteoarthritis, it can cause leg muscle weakness or balance difficulties. Researchers studied 1,842 people, 40 percent of whom were men and who were at high risk for knee osteoarthritis.
After five years, 16.8 percent reported regular knee buckling, and over the next two years, those people were 1.6 to 2.5 times more likely to experience recurring falls, fear of falling and poor confidence in their ability to balance. Strengthening the quadriceps is the professional advice.