Long-term participation in peer-led fall prevention classes predicts lower fall incidence

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jun;95(6):1060-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.01.018. Epub 2014 Feb 4.


Objective: To investigate the association between length of participation in Steady As You Go (SAYGO) peer-led fall prevention exercise classes for older adults and 12-month fall incidence.

Design: Twelve-month prospective cohort study.

Setting: Community settings.

Participants: Older adults (N=207; 189 women, 18 men) aged ≥ 65 y (mean age ± SD, 77.7 ± 6.6 y) actively participating in SAYGO classes.

Intervention: Peer-led fall prevention exercise classes.

Main outcome measures: Twelve-month prospective fall incidence data were collected by monthly calendars. Falls in the previous year and number of years of SAYGO participation were obtained by baseline questionnaire. Class attendance was monitored weekly by class attendance records.

Results: Mean length ± SD of SAYGO participation was 4.3 ± 2.5 years (range, 1-10 y). Average class attendance was 69%. Crude fall rate was .75 per person-year. Fall incidences at 12 and 24 months were highly correlated (r=.897, P<.001). Longer SAYGO participation (≥ 3 y) resulted in a lower 12-month fall incidence (incidence rate ratio, .90; 95% confidence interval, .82-.99; P=.03) compared with a shorter duration of participation (1-2 y).

Conclusions: SAYGO appears to be an effective fall prevention intervention with a high attendance rate and a lower fall incidence with long-term participation. Prospective controlled studies on long-term participation in peer-led fall prevention exercise programs are needed to confirm and extend these findings.

Keywords: Accidental falls; Aged; Community health services; Exercise; Patient participation; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Peer Group*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Primary Prevention / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Resistance Training / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors