Fall-induced deaths among older adults: nationwide statistics in Finland between 1971 and 2009 and prediction for the future

Injury. 2013 Jun;44(6):867-71. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Apr 6.


Background: Fall-related injuries and deaths of elderly people are a major public health concern.

Methods: Using the Official Cause-of-Death Statistics of Finland we determined the current trends in the number and age-adjusted incidence (per 100,000 persons) of fall-induced deaths among older Finnish men and women by taking into account all persons 50 years of age or older who died because of a fall-induced injury between 1971 and 2009.

Results: Among elderly Finnish men, the number of deaths due to falls increased considerably between the years 1971 and 2009, from 162 to 627 (a 287% increase). The age-adjusted incidence also increased from 43.4 (per 100,000 persons) in 1971 to 57.9 in 2000, but stabilized thereafter (57.3 in 2009). Among elderly Finnish women, the number of fall-induced deaths increased till the beginning of the new millennium (from 279 in 1971 to 499 in 2000) but stabilized thereafter (506 in 2009), and, in sharp contrast to men, women's age-adjusted incidence of fall-induced deaths declined during the entire study period, the incidence being 77.2 in 1971 while only 35.3 in 2009.

Conclusions: Between 1971 and 2009 the number of fall-induced deaths increased among elderly Finns. The changes were sex-specific so that men surpassed women in both the number and age-adjusted incidence of these fatal falls. Welcome observations were that men's age-adjusted incidence of fall-induced deaths started to stabilize during the new millennium and that in women this incidence continuously declined between 1971 and 2009.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / mortality
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control*
  • Cause of Death / trends
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Population Surveillance
  • Public Health* / trends
  • Sex Distribution
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide / trends
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*