Research Article| Volume 56, ISSUE 7, P659-668, July 2003

Balance and mobility performance as treatable risk factors for recurrent falling in older persons


      Background and Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine whether easily measurable measures for balance and muscle strength predicted recurrent falling as well as sophisticated measurements, and to examine which of the modifiable risk factors were strongest associated with recurrent falling.
      Methods: The study was performed in a subsample (n = 439, aged 69–92 years) of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Balance, muscle strength, physical activity, and performance tests were assessed. Falls were recorded during 1 year. The outcome measure was recurrent falls (⩾2 falls within 1 year).
      Results: The area under the curve (AUC) of mediolateral sway (AUC = 0.67; 95% CI:0.57–0.77), tandem stand (AUC = 0.61; 95% CI:0.49–0.73), leg extension strength (AUC = 0.58; 95% CI:0.51–0.64), and handgrip strength (AUC = 0.57; 95% CI:0.51–0.64) for recurrent falling were not significantly different. In a multivariate model, mediolateral sway (OR = 2.8; 95% CI:1.1–6.9), tandem stand (OR = 2.1; 95% CI:1.1–3.8), and walking test (OR = 2.2; 95% CI:1.1–4.1) were significantly associated with recurrent falling.
      Conclusions: The easily measurable tandem stand and handgrip strength predicted recurrent falling as well as the sophisticated measures. Mediolateral sway was strongest associated with recurrent falling.


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