Lifetime adherence to physical activity recommendations and fall occurrence in community-dwelling older adults: A retrospective cohort study

Rachel Lindsey Wright, Paul Robinson, Derek Peters

Abstract


Falling is a major health concern for community-dwelling older adults.  Regular physical activity has been proposed to prevent falls.  The aim of this study was to assess whether the achievement of the 2004 UK Department of Health physical activity recommendations over a lifetime had a protective effect against falling in older people.  313 community-dwelling older adults completed a questionnaire about lifetime physical activity and fall occurrence.  There were significantly fewer falls in those who had led an active lifestyle compared to those who had not (χ2Yates = 4.568, p = 0.033), with a lower relative risk of fall occurrence for the active respondents (RR = 0.671) compared to the inactive (RR = 1.210).  Of those who were sufficiently active in their early adulthood, the decade where there was the biggest decrease in remaining active enough was in the 60s.  It is concluded that an active lifestyle may have decreased the likelihood of having a fall in older age.

Key words: EXERCISE; FALLS; LIFESTYLE; ELDERLY; GUIDELINES

doi: 10.4100/jhse.2012.71.09

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