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Physical Activity and Falls Among a National Cohort of Older Veterans.

Authors
  • Marciniak, Dan1
  • Alexander, Neil B1, 2
  • Hoffman, Geoffrey J1
  • 1 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
  • 2 VA Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2021
Volume
40
Issue
3
Pages
310–319
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/0733464820915807
PMID: 32274955
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The more than 20 million U.S. veterans have a history of physical activity engagement but face increasing disability as they age. Falls are common among older adults, but there is little evidence on veterans' fall risk. We conducted a retrospective cohort study using 48,643 observations from 14,831 older (≥65 years) Americans from the 2006-2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Veterans reported more noninjurious falls (26.6% vs. 24.0%, p < .002), but fewer fall-related injuries (8.9% vs. 12.3%, p < .001) than nonveterans. In adjusted analyses, for each 5-year increase in age, the odds of a noninjurious fall were greater for veterans (odds ratio [OR] = 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.01, 1.10]) and, among those with regular physical activity, the odds were lower for veterans compared with nonveterans (OR = 0.89; 95% CI = [0.81, 0.99]). For veterans, physical activity engagement may prove a particularly effective mechanism for reducing the aging-related risks associated with falls and fall injuries.

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