The Relationship Between Concerns About Falling and Daily Life Activity in Older Men and Women

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Zoe Yu Shiu
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Kim Delbaere
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Kimberley S. van Schooten
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Concerns about falling (CAF) affect daily life activities in older people; however, it is unclear whether gender moderates this relationship. The authors investigated the cross-sectional relationship between CAF and objectively measured physical activity (PA) and gait quality in 503 community-dwelling older men and women. About 448 people (age = 76.2 [SD 7.9] years, 296 females) contributed sufficient data on movement intensity, activity duration (bouts of walking, sitting, and standing), number of transitions between activities (sit-to-stand and sit-to-walk), number of steps and gait quality, quantified as walking speed, and sample entropy. Associations with the Iconographical Falls Efficacy Scale were tested. The authors found no significant moderation by gender. However, women participated in less PA than men and showed a more irregular walking pattern. Higher levels of CAF led to lower PA and poorer gait quality. Our findings suggest that prevention of CAF-related PA avoidance may be particularly important for women, who are less active and at higher risk of falls.

Delbaere and van Schooten share senior authorship. The authors are with Neuroscience Research Australia, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; and the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

van Schooten (k.vanschooten@neura.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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