Functional, balance and health determinants of falls in a free living community Amazon riparian elderly

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Mar-Apr 2013;56(2):350-7. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2012.08.015. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


The aim of this study was to investigate socio-economic, clinical, anthropometric, balance and functional fitness factors present in Amazon riparian older persons that can be associated with a risk of falling. A cross sectional study was performed with 637 riverine elderly residents (≥60 years old) in Maués city Amazonas, Brazil. The elderly were grouped in two categories with and without a history of falls in the past six months. The following variables were compared between these groups: self-reported social and health conditions; biochemical and physiological variables related to the control of metabolic diseases; body composition; hand grip strength; functional fitness evaluation using the Senior Fitness Test (SFT) battery, and balance condition using the Berg Balance Test (BBT). The prevalence of at least one fall in the past six months was 24.6% (n=157) and was similar between the sexes. The mean age between males and females with and without a history of falls was also similar (males with falls=72.67 ± 8.86; males with no falls=73.26 ± 7.58) female falls=71.78 ± 8.18, female with no falls=71.48 ± 8.17). A history of falls was associated with hospitalization in the last year and to self-health perception to both sexes and presence of chronic morbidity and percentage of body fat (BF) to women. However, the other variables including balance and functional fitness, did not present differences between elderly with and without a history of falls. These results suggest that falls experienced by the riparian elderly are strongly associated to accidents due to environmental conditions related to daily life.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Fractures, Bone / physiopathology
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires