Risk factors for falls in a community-based prospective study of people 70 years and older

J Gerontol. 1989 Jul;44(4):M112-7. doi: 10.1093/geronj/44.4.m112.


We investigated factors associated with falls in a community-based prospective study of 761 subjects 70 years and older. The group experienced 507 falls during the year of monitoring. On entry to the study a number of variables had been assessed in each subject. Variables associated with an increased risk of falling differed in men and women. In men, decreased levels of physical activity, stroke, arthritis of the knees, impairment of gait, and increased body sway were associated with an increased risk of falls. In women, the total number of drugs, psychotropic drugs and drugs liable to cause postural hypotension, standing systolic blood pressure of less than 110 mmHg, and evidence of muscle weakness were also associated with an increased risk of falling. Most falls in elderly people are associated with multiple risk factors, many of which are potentially remediable. The possible implications of this in diagnosis and prevention are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls* / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents* / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged / psychology*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis / complications
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Physical Exertion
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors