Rev Saude Publica 2012 Feb 20;46(1):138-46. Epub 2011 Dec 20.
Núcleo de Assessoria, Treinamentos e Estudos em Saúde, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, MG, Brasil.
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of falls in elderly individuals and to analyze associated factors.
Methods: Cross-sectional study with 420 elderly subjects (aged 60 years or older) living in the city of Juiz de Fora (Southeastern Brazil) in 2010. A household survey was conducted and the occurrence of falls in the 12 previous months was described. For the analysis of factors associated with the outcome, a theoretical determination model with three hierarchical blocks was built. The variables were adjusted among each other within each block; those with level of significance < 0.20 were included in the Poisson regression model and adjusted to the immediately higher level, with 5% significance level.
Results: The prevalence of falls among the elderly was 32.1% (95%CI: 27.7; 36.9). Among those who experienced falls, 53% had a single fall and 19% had fractures as a consequence. Most of the falls (59%) occurred at the elderly person's home. The occurrence of falls was associated with old age, female sex, need of help for locomotion and self-reported diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Conclusions: Falls are frequent among the elderly. Knowledge of the factors associated with the occurrence of this event can aid the development of prevention strategies and adequate health services.