USPSTF: Exercise Interventions Prevent Falls in Seniors

Second recommendation statement finds evidence lacking for benefit of calcium, vitamin D, or both


TUESDAY, April 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that exercise interventions may be beneficial for preventing falls in older adults; however, the evidence is insufficient to weigh the benefits and harms of vitamin D, calcium, and combined supplementation. These findings form the basis of two recommendation statements published April 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers from the USPSTF reviewed evidence on the effectiveness and harms of primary care-relevant interventions to prevent falls and fall-related morbidity and mortality in community-dwelling older adults. There was adequate evidence that exercise interventions have a moderate benefit in preventing falls and that multifactorial interventions have a small benefit. The harms of exercise and multifactorial interventions was found to be no greater than small. Based on these findings, the USPSFT recommends exercise interventions to prevent falls among those at increased fall risk (B recommendation).

In a second recommendation statement, researchers reviewed the evidence on vitamin D, calcium, and combined supplementation for primary prevention of fractures. Evidence to estimate the benefits was lacking for community-dwelling men and premenopausal women; there was no benefit for postmenopausal women receiving low-dose supplementation. Based on these findings, the USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to weigh the balance of benefits and harms for vitamin D, calcium, or combined supplementation for primary prevention of fractures (I statement).

"We need more research to understand if taking higher doses of vitamin D or calcium helps to prevent fractures in women who have gone through menopause -- or at any dose for men or younger women," USPSTF member Carol Mangione, M.D., M.S.P.H., said in a statement.

Evidence Report - Falls
Final Recommendation Statement - Falls
Editorial - Falls
Evidence Report - Vitamin D
Final Recommendation Statement - Vitamin D
Editorial - Vitamin D

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