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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


RODRIGUES, Iara Guimarães; FRAGA, Gustavo Pereira  and  BARROS, Marilisa Berti de Azevedo. Falls among the elderly: risk factors in a population-based study. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2014, vol.17, n.3, pp.705-718. ISSN 1415-790X.


The aim of the present study was to identify factors associated with the occurrence of falls among elderly adults in a population-based study (ISACamp 2008).


A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out with two-stage cluster sampling. The sample was composed of 1,520 elderly adults living in the urban area of the city of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. The occurrence of falls was analyzed based on reports of the main accident occurred in the previous 12 months. Data on socioeconomic/demographic factors and adverse health conditions were tested for possible associations with the outcome. Prevalence ratios (PR) were estimated and adjusted for gender and age using the Poisson multiple regression analysis.


Falls were more frequent, after adjustment for gender and age, among female elderly participants (PR = 2.39; 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.47 - 3.87), elderly adults (80 years old and older) (PR = 2.50; 95%CI 1.61 - 3.88), widowed (PR = 1.74; 95%CI 1.04 - 2.89) and among elderly adults who had rheumatism/arthritis/arthrosis (PR = 1.58; 95%CI 1.00 - 2.48), osteoporosis (PR = 1.71; 95%CI 1.18 - 2.49), asthma/bronchitis/emphysema (PR = 1,73; 95%CI 1.09 - 2.74), headache (PR = 1.59; 95%CI 1.07 - 2.38), mental common disorder (PR = 1.72; 95%CI 1.12 - 2.64), dizziness (PR = 2.82; 95%CI 1.98 - 4.02), insomnia (PR = 1.75; 95%CI 1.16 - 2.65), use of multiple medications (five or more) (PR = 2.50; 95%CI 1.12 - 5.56) and use of cane/walker (PR = 2.16; 95%CI 1.19 - 3,93).


The present study shows segments of the elderly population who are more prone to falls through the identification of factors associated with this outcome. The findings can contribute to the planning of public health policies and programs addressed to the prevention of falls.

Keywords : Aging; Aged; Accidental falls; Health surveys; Cross-sectional studies; Risk factors.

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