gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Enhancing balance in community dwelling older persons

Meeting Abstract

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Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa050

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Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Freiberger.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




About one in three older persons fall at least once each year. Many of these people even experience multiple falls. In the age group 80 years and older 40% report a minimum of one fall. Hip fractures are one of the most serious consequences of falls accounting in about 40% for early placement into institutionalised housing. It has been estimated that by the year 2050 there will be up to 2.3 million annual hip fractures in global perspectives [1].

To prevent falls and their consequences in older people is an urgent topic in aging research regarding the increase of the financial burden for the health care systems.

At the Institute of Sport Science of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, a randomised controlled study was conducted to investigate the effect of three different intervention programs on falls reduction in respect to number of falls and falls frequency in 70. to 90. years old community-dwelling older people.


293 community dwelling high active older people (163 men and 130 women) aged 70 to 90 years were randomly assigned to either control, multifaceted, health related fitness or psychomotor intervention group. Prospective data was collected for 12 month by daily diary. In case of a fall report, further details were obtained via structured telephone call.


For the study period 39% of the participants fell at least once, and in 19% multiple falls occurred. The proportion of fallers in the fitness group was 23% less then in the control group. Only the fitness intervention reduced the falls significantly, but the psychomotor as well as the fitness group had significant results on motor and psychological variables.


In a population high active community dwelling people the fitness intervention had the most effect in falls reducing but the psychomotor intervention also modified risk factors for falls.


Gullberg B, Johnell O, Kanis JA. World-wide projections for hip fractures. Osteoporis 7. 1997;407-13.