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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMass Researcher Examines the Relationship Between Falls, Hip Fractures, and Obesity among Nursing Home Residents in Recent Study

Dr. Ning Zhang, assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, has recently published a journal article that examines obesity status, falls, and hip fractures among nursing home residents. The article, which appears in the Journal of Patient-Centered Research and Reviews, aimed to identify if there was an association between obesity and falls and hip fractures.

[Photo: Dr. Ning Zhang]

The research was conducted as a cohort study using nationally collected data on newly admitted nursing home residents from 2006 to 2010. Data on falls and hip fractures were extracted from the U.S. Minimum Data Set and the residents were classified into three categories based on their body mass index: non-obese (defined as normal-to-overweight), mildly obese, and severely obese.

The results of the study showed that mildly obese and severely obese patients were less likely to fall and less likely to experience hip fractures, compared to non-obese patients. Dr. Zhang concluded that obesity is associated with a reduced risk of falls and hip fractures and that future studies need to be performed to understand why this association exists and what it means for the care of obese nursing home residents.