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Original Research Cross-Sectional Relationship Between Physical Activity and Falls in Older Adults, United States 2003

Background: Falls are a major health problem for older adults. The purpose of this study is to examine the cross-sectional association between non-occupational physical activity and falls and fall-related injuries in US adults age 65 y or older. Methods: Respondents age 65 y or older were selected from the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n = 47,619). Results: The age-adjusted incidence of falls was significantly higher among inactive respondents (16.3%, 95% CI: 15.2–17.6) than insuffi ciently active (12.3%, 95% CI: 11.4–13.2) or active (12.6%, 95% CI: 11.6–13.7) respondents. After controlling for sex, age, education, and body-mass index, active and insufficiently active respondents were significantly less likely to have fallen and were significantly less likely to have had a fall-related injury than their inactive peers. Conclusion: These results show that active and insufficiently active older adults experience a lower incidence of falls than their inactive peers.

Authors: Susan A. Carlson, Judy Kruger, Harold W. Kohl III, David M. Buchner

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