Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
SIQUEIRA, Fernando V et al. Prevalence of falls and associated factors in the elderly. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.41, n.5, pp. 749-756. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102007000500009.
OBJECTIVE: Increased life expectancy and consequent growth of the elderly population has resulted in changes in the epidemiological morbidity and mortality profile. In the group of chronic degenerative diseases, falls are a prevailing among those preventable conditions. The objective of the study was to assess prevalence of falls in the elderly and to describe their associated factors. METHODS: Cross-sectional study comprising 4,003 elderly subjects (aged 65 years or more) living in areas covered by primary health care in 41 municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants from seven Brazilian states. Wald test for heterogeneity and linear trend were used for the estimation of significance level. Adjusted analysis was conducted using Poisson regression and adjusted prevalence rates were estimated. RESULTS: The prevalence of falls among the elderly was 34.8%, significantly higher in women (40.1%) than men. Among those who experienced falls, 12.1% had fractures as a consequence. The prevalence of falls was directly associated with older age, sedentary lifestyle, self-perception of poor health and more chronic drug use reported. The prevalence of falls was similar in the elderly attending different care services (basic health care units and Family Health Program). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of falls among elderly could be reduced through actions targeting their needs in health care units, especially regarding preventable associated factors.
Keywords : Aged; Accidental falls; Risk factors; Health services for the aged; Cross-sectional studies.