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Broken bones risk of young adults revealed

Monday 14th March 2016
Young adults may be at a greater risk of broken bones than the elderly, according to a new report. Image: iStock/BernardSv
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Young adults may be at an even greater risk of suffering broken bones as a result of falls than elderly people, according to a new study.

An investigation carried out by researchers from Purdue University led to the discovery that the majority of college students fall over regularly, putting themselves at the risk of breaking their bones. However, statistics show that just one in three elderly adults is at risk of falling each year.

Shirley Rietdyk, lead author of the study, commented: "The fall rate may be lower for older adults because they are more cautious due to the higher risk of serious, even fatal, injuries from falls."

Ms Rietdyk sent an online questionnaire to 94 undergraduate students with an average age of 19 to produce the study results.

It was found that, on average, students fell or slipped at least once every week, but managed to quickly regain their balance the majority of the time.

One-third of all recorded falls occurred indoors, while those that took place outside were not necessarily attributed to icy weather - the outdoor fall rate remained high even in the summer months.

What's more, the responses showed that 52 per cent of young adults fell at least once during the four-month study period, with 21 per cent suffering repeat falls.

Of these, 16 per cent resulted in an injury, while four per cent needed medical treatment, highlighting that clumsiness or a simple lack of balance can create extra work for radiographers.

Some may assume that the high number of falls among college students could be attributed to alcohol or the abuse of other substances, but these factors were only found to account for nine per cent of all slips and trips.

Ms Rietdyk stated: "These findings also highlight that walking on two legs is a challenging task that is mechanically unstable, even for young, healthy adults."

Written by Megan Smith

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