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Exercise Programs Cut Fall-Related Injuries in Elderly
Programs reduce injuries from falls, including the most severe injuries, falls leading to medical care

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise programs designed to prevent falls in community-dwelling older adults can reduce fall-related injuries, including the most severe injuries, according to a review and meta-analysis published online Oct. 29 in BMJ.

To examine whether fall prevention exercise interventions are effective for preventing fall-related injuries, Fabienne El-Khoury, from Université Paris-Sud, and colleagues conducted a literature review and identified 17 randomized controlled trials of fall prevention exercise interventions aimed at older (>60 years) community-dwelling individuals. Quantitative data were provided on injurious falls, serious falls, or fall-related fractures, and pooled rate ratios were estimated for each category of injurious fall.

The trials included 4,305 participants. The researchers classified falls into four categories: all injurious falls, falls resulting in medical care, severe injurious falls, and falls resulting in fractures. In all categories, exercise had a significant effect, with pooled estimates of the rates ratios of 0.63 for all injurious falls; 0.70 for falls resulting in medical care; 0.57 for severe injurious falls; and 0.39 for falls resulting in fractures. There was significant heterogeneity observed between studies of all injurious falls (I² = 50 percent).

"The results presented in this paper show a positive effect of exercise on injurious falls, including the most severe falls and those that result in medical care -- that is, those with the greatest consequences for people's health and use of resources," the authors conclude.

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