Fall and fracture preventive behaviors increased following a community-based intervention in older adults in Georgia senior centers
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One-third of older adults experience at least one fall annually and fractures are the most common type of fall related injury. Osteoporosis-related fractures cost Georgia nearly $400 M annually, with the majority of costs incurred in older adults (Burge et al., 2000). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate a community-based intervention to reduce risk factors related to falls and fractures in older adults. The 16-week intervention (about 1 hour per week) took place in Georgia senior centers and participants were a convenience sample (N = 849; mean age = 74; 83% female; 55% white, 44% black, 1% other). Incorporating the components of the Health Belief Model, the 4-month intervention consisted of 16 sessions (about one hour each), eight of which focused on prevention of falls and fractures, and all 16 sessions included physical activity, such as chair exercises. Pre- and post-tests were interviewer-administered and evaluated fall preventive home safety behaviors, intakes of calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods, intakes of calcium- and vitamin D-containing supplements, and 5 modifiable fall- and fracture-related risk factors (low intake of calcium-rich food, non-use of a calcium supplement, non-use of a vitamin D-containing supplement, low physical activity, and fall preventive home safety behaviors). Following the intervention, there were significant (P < 0.01) increases in the intake of calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods (increased by 4 weekly servings), the use of calcium- or vitamin D-containing supplements (8 to 9 percentage-point increases), and following 7 to 8 of the 8 fall preventive behaviors (pre: 35% vs. post: 51%), and decreases in overall modifiable fall- and fracture-related risk factors (e 4 to 5 risk factors: pre: 43% vs. post: 26%). This evaluation provides evidence that this intervention improves several preventive behaviors that are important for decreasing the risk of falls and fractures in older adults. The intervention materials are available online for use at http://livewellagewell.info/study/materials.htm.