Original Article

Epidemiology of Falls in Older Adults in Texas

Authors: Hasanat Alamgir, PhD, Nicole J. Wong, MPH, Yueha Hu, PhD, Mo Yu, MSc, Amanda Marshall, MS, Shicheng Yu, PhD
diagnostic:195614

Abstract

Objectives: The expected increase in the US older adult population implies an increased risk of fall-related injury among these individuals. We describe the epidemiology of fall morbidity among older adults in Texas, a large US state with a diverse population base.

Methods: Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2010 data were analyzed. The falls outcome was defined as falling: any fall in the past 3 months and a serious fall: a fall resulting in limited activities for at least 1 day or requiring medical attention.

Results: A total of 5996 subjects were included in this analysis; 17.6% (n = 1055) reported falling 1 to 5 times in the previous 3 months, and 361 (6%) experienced serious falls. Risk of falling had a significant positive association among respondents who rated their general health as fair to poor (relative risk [RR] 2.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.55–3.68) and a negative association for those who reported regular physical activity (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.42–0.82). A similar model examined the risk of serious falls and found statistically positive associations in respondents who reported fair or poor general health (RR 3.29, 95% CI 2.00–5.43). Negative associations were found for those who reported regular physical activity (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.38–0.83) and for men (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.39–0.98). No statistically significant correlations for either of the fall outcomes were found with residence, obesity, education, income, age, ethnicity, employment, marital status, diabetes mellitus, or cardiovascular disease.

Conclusions: Interventions aimed at the prevention of falls should focus on maintaining and improving general health and promoting physical activity among older adults.

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