Ethnicity and falls in older men: low rate of falls in Italian-born men in Australia

Age Ageing. 2011 Sep;40(5):595-601. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afr067. Epub 2011 Jul 2.


Background: past research suggests that fall rates in older persons may differ by ethnicity. The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of falls between older male Italian-born immigrants and their Australian-born counterparts.

Methods: this study analysed data from 335 Italian-born and 848 Australian-born men aged 70 years and over participating in the Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP). Prospective falls data were collected by 4 monthly phone calls (mean follow-up time: 26.7 months). Negative binomial regression compared falls incidence rate ratios (IRR) between the two groups of men.

Results: there were 37 (11%) Italian-born men and 185 (22%) Australian-born men who had two or more falls during follow-up (P < 0.001). Negative binomial analysis demonstrated that Italian-born men had half the incidence rate of falls compared with Australian-born men (IRR = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.38-0.67). After adjustment for falls risk factors, Italian-born men remained significantly less likely to fall with a 43% lower fall rate (IRR = 0.57, 95% CI = 0.39-0.85).

Conclusion: older male Italian-born immigrants are less likely to fall than their Australian-born counterparts. Differences in fall rates between the two groups are not explained by established falls risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / ethnology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors