Does a structured exercise program prevent falls in the elderly?

January 01, 0001

Does a structured exercise program prevent falls in the elderly?

Falls in the elderly pose significant morbidity and mortality risks. The Otago exercise program (OEP) is designed to prevent falls in older people living in the community through building strength and balance. These Australian researchers performed a systematic review with meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of the OEP on the risk of death and fall. Clinical trials. They included trials where the OEP was the primary intervention in community dwelling geriatric patients.

The researchers report: "seven trials, involving 1503 participants were included. The mean age of participants was 81.6 years. The OEP significantly reduced the risk of death over 12 months (risk ratio = 0.45), and significantly reduced fall rates (incidence rate ratio = 0.68). There was no significant difference in the risk of a serious or moderate injury occurring as the result of a fall (risk ratio = 1.05). Of the 747 participants who remained in the studies at 12 months, 274 (36.7%) were still exercising three or more times per week"

The researchers concluded: "the OEP significantly reduces the risk of death and falling in older community-dwelling adults."

This systematic review find evidence of significantly reduced risk of fall and death with use of a structured exercise program in geriatric patients.

For the full abstract, click here.

Age and Ageing 39(6):681-687, November 2010
© 2010 The Author
Does the ‘Otago exercise programme’ reduce mortality and falls in older adults?: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Susie Thomas, Shylie Mackintosh and Julie Halbert. Correspondence to S. Thomas: [email protected]

Category: A. General/Unspecified. Keywords: Otago exercise program, fall, mortality, injury, geriatric, systematic review with meta-analysis, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 10 December 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.