• Vol. 42 No. 7, 320–327
  • 15 July 2013

Factors Associated with Falls Among Community-Dwelling Older People in Taiwan



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Introduction: Falls are common among older people. Previous studies have shown that falls were multifactorial. However, data regarding community-dwelling Chinese population are minimal. We aimed to study factors associated with falls among community-dwelling older Chinese people.

Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in a community hospital in Taiwan in 2010. Our sample included 671 elders from the 3680 examinees of the free annual Senior Citizens Health Examination. Participants were interviewed with a detailed questionnaire, and 317 elders were further invited for serum vitamin D tests. The main outcome was falls in the previous 12 months. Predictor variables included sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle risk factors, body stature, frailty, serum 25 (OH) D levels, and medications.

Results: The mean age of the 671 participants was 75.7 ± 6.4 years old, and 48.7% of which were female. Fallers comprised 21.0% of the study population. In multivariate models, female gender (adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 2.32), loss of height in adulthood (aOR: 1.52), low body weight (aOR: 2.69), central obesity (aOR: 1.67), frailty (aOR: 1.56), polypharmacy (aOR: 2.18) and hyperglycaemia (aOR: 1.56) were factors associated with falls. Vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25 (OH) D levels <30 ng/mL) was not associated with falls (OR: 0.78; 95% CI, 0.38 to 1.60) (n = 317) in this study.

Conclusion: Among community-dwelling older people in Taiwan, falls were mainly associated with female gender, polypharmacy, frailty, reduced body height, low body weight or central obesity, and hyperglycaemia. In addition to other risk factors, body stature should be considered as a novel risk factor when screening elders at risk for falls.

Falls are an important issue in geriatric medicine. Falls are particularly associated with increased morbidity, disability, lower quality of life, and earlier entry into residential care.
Injuries resulting from falls are usually much more severe in older people than in younger generations owing to poor functional reserve. Falls contribute to the occurrence of fractures in 5% of community-dwelling older people. In Taiwan, recent prevalence of falls was 22.7%.

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