Falling is not just for older women: support for pre-emptive prevention intervention before 60

Climacteric. 2008;11(6):461-6. doi: 10.1080/13697130802398517.


Objective: This study aimed to report falls and identify factors that might predict a fall in women aged between 40 and 80 years and thus provide evidence of earlier falls and need for morbidity preventive intervention.

Design and participants: A prospective cohort study design over 5 years. Personal demographic data of age, co-morbidities, number of prescribed medications, falls, activity level and living situation were obtained at face-to-face interview. Height, weight, body mass index and postural stability were measured in participating women living independently in the community.

Results: Women were categorized into age decade cohorts, with 463 remaining at the year 5 assessment. At baseline, 8% of the women in their forties, 14% in their fifties, 25% in their sixties and 40% in their seventies had fallen in the previous 12 months. Over the 5-year study period, 21% of women in their forties and fifties, 31% of women in their sixties and 47% in their seventies had fallen. Multiple fallers mostly comprised women in their sixties and seventies. Parametric modeling and the classification tree approach revealed age and number of co-morbidities to be most predictive of a fall. Women < 60 years old had an increased risk of a fall by 8% and women > 60 years an increased risk of a fall by 35% with every additional co-morbidity. Stability and other demographics were not predictive of falling.

Conclusions: For women over 40 years old, the number of co-morbidities increased the risk of a fall. The falls risk escalated with additional co-morbidities if they were over 60 years. Preventive program participation to maintain good health beginning by the forties appears vital to prevent falls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Causality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Women's Health*