Obesity and injury in Australia: a review of the literature (AIHW)

Obesity and injury are major health burdens on society. Possible relationships between obesity and injury have recently been reported, but their nature and extent has been unclear.

Obesity and injury in Australia: a review of the literature presents summary information from an overview of the existing literature to investigate obesity injury relationships.

It shows that while findings are mixed, most evidence suggests that obesity increases the risk of injury. "The probability of falls, trips, or stumbles rises with obesity," said Professor James Harrison of the AIHW's National Injury Surveillance Unit. "Sleep apnoea is also strongly associated with obesity, and this condition greatly increases the risk of road injury, due to the fatigue experienced by sufferers."

The outcomes of injury are also affected by obesity. "The average length of stay in hospital is significantly longer for obese injured patients than for patients who are not obese," Professor Harrison said. "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."

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