Factors associated with falls in active older adults in Japan and Brazil

Public in Journal of Clinical Gerontology & Geriatrics 4 (2013) 89e92. Written by Ricardo Aurélio Carvalho Sampaio, PE, Priscila Yukari Sewo Sampaio, OT, MSc, Minoru Yamada, RPT, PhD, Mihoko Ogita, MSN, Sandra Marcela Mahecha Matsudo, MD, PhD, Vagner Raso, PhD, Tadao Tsuboyama, MD, PhD, Hidenori Arai, MD, PhD


Background/Purpose: Aging populations are a global public health concern. The risk of falls increases with
age, so fall prevention is becoming an important health issue. However, few studies have focused on cross-cultural analyses of falls. Therefore, we aimed to compare the incidence of falls and compare anthropometric measures and physical function between active Japanese and Brazilian older adults. Materials and methods: We measured the incidence of falls (investigated by self-reported questionnaire), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), grip strength (GS), one-legged stance (BALANCE), frequency of physical activity (PA), medication use (MU), and hospitalization history in 114 physically active community-dwelling adults 65 years of age and older in Japan (73.9 4.0 years, n 1⁄4 40) and Brazil (70.7 4.5 years, n 1⁄4 74). Results: The Japanese elderly were older (p < 0.01), but had a better BALANCE score (p < 0.05) than the Brazilian elderly. Nevertheless, Brazilian elderly showed higher engagement in PA and had higher BMI and WC (p < 0.01). Despite the lack of a difference in the incidence of falls between the two cohorts, Japanese elderly who fell had decreased GS compared to Japanese elderly who did not fall [odds ratio (OR): 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72e0.97, p < 0.05]. In Brazil, those who fell had larger WC than those who did not fall (OR: 1.07, 95% CI 1.01 e 1.13, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Our results indicate that physical function (i.e., grip strength) is a more important predictor of falls in Japanese elderly. However, increasing waist size is a predictor of falls in Brazilian elderly. These findings suggest that risk factors for falls are multifactorial and vary according to setting.

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