The HARD truth about falls

Falls are a major public health problem worldwide


million falls are severe enough to require medical attention each year [1]


individuals worldwide are estimated to die from falls each year [1]

0nd cause

Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide [1]

Many people are unaware of how important falls are. In my experience, everytime I share these facts with people (who did not know about them), they are usually surprised and often overwhelmed. Almost everyone knows someone who has been injured by falls.

But translating “large numbers” into a person’s reality is not always easy. So, I invite you to forget the “big data” for just one minute and consider falls in a close-up small-context, with what I call “The HARD Truth About Falls”: a fall takes place in a fraction of a moment – in a blink of an eye – in less than a minute!  (and falls can affect anyone!).

Sadly, there are many-many falls happening as you read these lines… and despite their short time span, a fall can (in a fraction of a minute) change a life significantly.

To raise awareness about this “hard truth” and about the importance of fall prevention, I designed the animated-collage below, which I name “The One Minute Gauge” (OMG!), to illustrate what happens during just a minute. Each rounded-square image represents a fall that required medical attention.

The One Minute Gauge


  1. Can you observe and appreciate the OMG “performing” for one minute…?
  2. How many falls happen in just one minute…? (Note: Each rounded-square image represents a fall that required medical attention.)
  3. What do you think the “black-box” means…?
  4. How often does the “black-box” changes position…?
  5. Could you predict where the “black-box” is going to move (“fall”) next…?

[1] Source: World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheets on Falls (26 April 2021).

(Previous edition of WHO Fact Sheet on Falls – 16 January 2018 – estimated 646.000 deadly falls worldwide.)