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.