Objective: To examine older people's participation in fall prevention exercise/physical activities.
Methods: Participants comprised 5,681 randomly selected older people (≥ 65 years) who took part in the 2009 New South Wales (Australia) Fall Prevention telephone survey (61% response-rate). The instrument consisted of 11 prompted activities including two separate questions on participation in strength and balance training. Tai chi, dance, team sports, golf, bowls and specific balance training were classified as balance-challenging activities. Correlates of low participation were examined using multivariable logistic regression.
Results: One in eight older people (12.0%, 95% CI: 11.0-13.0) participated in strength training, 6.0% (95% CI: 5.2-6.7) participated in balance training and 21.8% (95% CI: 20.5-23.0) participated in balance-challenging activities. Adherence to public health recommendations (≥ 2 days/week) for strength or balance-challenging activities was reported by 21.0% (95% CI: 9.8-22.2) with 5.3% adhering to both forms. Engagements in strength or in balance-challenging activities were lower among those who had low education (<high-school), lived in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, were obese, had fair/poor self-rated health, had problems with walking or used a walking aid or had fallen in the past year.
Conclusion: Participation in best practice exercise to prevent falls is low. Population-based approaches and targeted strategies for high-risk group are needed.
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