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Moderate, Vigorous Activity Not Tied to More Elderly Falls

Falls in older women with high levels of physical activity also not more injurious

elderly couple walking

THURSDAY, Aug. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Falls are not more common or injurious in older women who engage in higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), according to a study published online July 29 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

David M. Buchner, M.D., from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues assessed whether MVPA (measured using an accelerometer) is associated with incident falls among 5,545 ambulatory women aged 63 to 99 years participating in the Women's Health Initiative.

The researchers observed a greater fall risk in women in the lowest quartile of MVPA versus those in the highest (incident rate ratio, 1.18), after adjusting for age, race and ethnicity, and fall risk factors. Fall rates were significantly associated with MVPA in women with low Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) scores (≤8) or a history of frequent falls, but not in women with high SPPB scores (9 to 12) or no more than one fall in the previous year (interaction P < 0.001 and < 0.03, respectively). Falls occurring in women with MVPA above the median were less likely to involve injuries requiring medical treatment (9.9 percent) versus falls in women with lower MVPA levels (13.0 percent; P < 0.001).

"These findings support encouraging women to engage in the amounts and types of MVPA that they prefer," the authors write.

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