Moving forward in fall prevention: an intervention to improve balance among older adults in real-world settings

Am J Public Health. 2005 Nov;95(11):2049-56. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.057612. Epub 2005 Sep 29.


Objectives: We investigated the effectiveness of a group-based exercise intervention to improve balancing ability among older adults delivered in natural settings by staff in local community organizations.

Methods: The main component of the intervention consisted of biweekly group-based exercise sessions conducted over 12 weeks by a professional, coupled with home-based exercises. In a quasiexperimental design, 10 community organizations working with older adults offered the intervention to groups of 5 to 15 persons concerned about falls, while 7 organizations recruited similar groups to participate in the control arm of the study. Participants (98 experimental and 102 control) underwent balance assessments by a physiotherapist at registration and 3 months later.

Results: Eighty-nine percent of participants attended the 3-month measurement session (n=177). A linear regression analysis showed that after adjusting for baseline levels of balance and demographic and health characteristics, the intervention significantly improved static balance and mobility.

Conclusion: Structured, group-based exercise programs offered by community organizations in natural settings can successfully increase balancing ability among community-dwelling older adults concerned about falls.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*
  • Socioeconomic Factors