Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Older adults who walk out of necessity are at highest risk for outdoor falls

Date:
July 17, 2014
Source:
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Summary:
Older adults are at a greater danger of falling when walking for utilitarian purposes such as shopping and appointments than when walking for recreation, according to a study.

Older adults are at a greater danger of falling when walking for utilitarian purposes such as shopping and appointments than when walking for recreation, according to a study from UMass Medical School.

Related Articles


"Older adults have two times the risk of falling while walking out of necessity than walking for recreation, and four times greater risk of injury from a fall on a sidewalk than in a recreational area," said Wenjun Li, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Health at UMMS and lead author of the study "Utilitarian Walking, Neighborhood Environment, and Risk of Outdoor Falls" published in the July 17 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Dr. Li and co-authors at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Harvard Medical School and UMass Boston investigated the association between the walking habits of older adults, the socioeconomic status of their neighborhoods, and the occurrence of outdoor falls using data from the Maintenance of Balance, Independent Living, Intellect and Zest in the Elderly of Boston Study which measured multiple attributes that might impact an individual's risk of falling. They found that older adults in poorer neighborhoods do more walking for appointments or errands and experience higher rates of fall on sidewalks, streets and curbs. Falls on sidewalks and streets were more likely to result in an injury than were falls in recreational areas despite the fact that they walked far less than recreational-only and dual walkers.

"These differences were not explained by individual factors such as an elder's health, leading us to conclude the environment may play a significant role" noted Li. "Further research will explore how elders interact with their environment and how to make neighborhoods safer for utilitarian walking."

With falls the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in adults aged 65 and older, fall prevention is one of the four priorities of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund which was established by the DPH in July 2012. Created to reduce health care costs by preventing chronic conditions in communities across the Commonwealth, the trust fund is the largest public health program in state history.

"This study will further inform our ongoing work to prevent falls among older adults," said Madeleine Biondolillo, MD, associate commissioner of the DPH and a co-author of the study.

Recognizing the impact that the built environment has on falls, DPH has collaborated with the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging to develop a Healthy Community Design program. It has also funded seven Mass in Motion communities to actively work with stakeholders on policy, systems and environmental approaches to healthy aging.

"Improving the safety of walking environments in areas where older adults shop and do other errands of necessity is an important component of fall prevention," Li and the DPH concluded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts Medical School. The original article was written by Sandra Gray. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wenjun Li, Elizabeth Procter-Gray, Lewis A. Lipsitz, Suzanne G. Leveille, Holly Hackman, Madeleine Biondolillo, Marian T. Hannan. Utilitarian Walking, Neighborhood Environment, and Risk of Outdoor Falls Among Older Adults. American Journal of Public Health, 2014; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302104

Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Older adults who walk out of necessity are at highest risk for outdoor falls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717180452.htm>.
University of Massachusetts Medical School. (2014, July 17). Older adults who walk out of necessity are at highest risk for outdoor falls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717180452.htm
University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Older adults who walk out of necessity are at highest risk for outdoor falls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717180452.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins