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

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Susan A. Carlson
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Judy Kruger
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Harold W. Kohl III
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David M. Buchner
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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 insufficiently 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.

The authors are with the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30345. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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