The contribution of alcohol to falls at home among working-aged adults

Alcohol. 2008 Aug;42(5):383-8. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2008.04.004. Epub 2008 Jun 17.


The role of alcohol in the occurrence and burden of fall related injury at home is unclear. We examined the contribution of alcohol to fatal and hospitalized injuries due to unintentional falls at home among working-aged adults. We conducted a population-based case-control study in Auckland, New Zealand between July 2005 and July 2006. Cases were 335 people aged 25-60 years who were admitted to hospital or died as a result of unintentional falls at home. Control subjects were 352 people randomly selected from the electoral roll from the same age band as the cases. The participants or next-of-kin completed a structured interview that ascertained data on sociodemographic, personal, and lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption. After controlling for confounding, the consumption of two or more standard alcoholic drinks in the preceding 6h relative to none was associated with a significantly increased risk of fall related injury (for two standard drinks: odds ratio: 3.7, 95% confidence interval: 1.2-10.9; for three or more drinks: odds ratio: 12.9, 95% confidence interval: 5.2-31.9). Approximately 20% of unintentional falls at home in this population may be attributable to the consumption of two or more alcoholic drinks in the preceding 6h. Drinking is strongly associated with unintentional falls at home that result in admission to hospital or death. Moreover, a substantial proportion of falls at home among working-age people can be attributed to alcohol consumption. This largely unrecognized problem should be addressed in falls prevention programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality*
  • Accidents, Home / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / mortality*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors