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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
April 9, 2008

Self-Reported Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥65 Years—United States, 2006

JAMA. 2008;299(14):1658-1659. doi:10.1001/jama.299.14.1658

MMWR. 2008;57:225-229

2 tables omitted

Each year, an estimated one third of older adults fall, and the likelihood of falling increases substantially with advancing age. In 2005, a total of 15,802 persons aged ≥65 years died as a result of injuries from falls.1 However, the number of older adults who fall and are not injured or who sustain minor or moderate injuries and seek treatment in clinics or physician offices is unknown. To estimate the percentage of older adults who fell during the preceding 3 months, CDC analyzed data from the 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that approximately 5.8 million persons aged ≥65 years, or 15.9% of all U.S. adults in that age group, fell at least once during the preceding 3 months, and 1.8 million (31.3%) of those who fell sustained an injury that resulted in a doctor visit or restricted activity for at least 1 day. The percentages of women and men who fell during the preceding 3 months were similar (16.4% versus 15.2%, respectively), but women reported significantly more fall-related injuries than men (35.7% versus 24.6%, respectively). The effect these injuries have on the quality of life of older adults and on the U.S. health-care system reinforces the need for broader use of scientifically proven fall-prevention interventions.

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