Background: The Wii Balance Board has received increasing attention as a balance measurement tool; however its ability to prospectively predict falls is unknown. This exploratory study investigated the use of the Wii Balance Board and other clinical-based measures for prospectively predicting falls among community-dwelling older adults.
Methods: Seventy-three community-dwelling men and women, aged 60-85years were followed-up over a year for falls. Standing balance was indexed by sway velocities measured using the Wii Balance Board interfaced with a laptop. Clinical-based measures included Short Physical Performance Battery, gait speed and Timed-Up-and-Go test. Multivariable regression analyses were used to assess the ability of the Wii Balance Board measure to complement the TUG test in fall screening.
Findings: Individually, the study found Wii Balance Board anteroposterior (odds ratio 1.98, 95% CI 1.16 to 3.40, P=0.01) and mediolateral (odds ratio 2.80, 95% CI 1.10 to 7.13, p=0.03) sway velocity measures predictive of prospective falls. However, when each velocity measure was adjusted with body mass index and Timed-Up-and-Go, only anteroposterior sway velocity was predictive of prospective falls (odds ratio 2.21, 95% CI 1.18 to 4.14). A faster anteroposterior velocity was associated with increased odds of falling. Area-under-the-curves for Wii Balance Board sway velocities were 0.67 and 0.71 for anteroposterior and mediolateral respectively.
Interpretation: The Wii Balance Board-derived anteroposterior sway velocity measure could complement existing clinical-based measures in predicting future falls among community-dwelling older adults.
Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number: ACTRN12610001099011.
Keywords: Balance; Older adult; Physiotherapy; Primary care.
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