Date: 23 Feb 2008

Role of physical activity in the prevention of falls and their consequences in the elderly

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This work aims to provide an inventory of the risk factors and consequences of falling in the elderly, namely fractures, and to identify strategies to prevent falls and minimise their effects. Falls in elderly people are a major cause of injuries, leading to a general fear of falling, poorer quality of life and even death. The increase in life expectancy brought by developments in the medical and health sciences has not always brought enhanced quality of life. More elderly people live with reduced functional capacities resulting in a higher prevalence of falls and associated problems for themselves and for society. Risk factors for falling, commonly resulting from normal aging processes, have already been identified through multiple studies. Exercise may play an important role in fall prevention and their consequences. Although, effective strategies are usually multi-disciplinary and focus simultaneously on several risk factors. However, only large-scale prevention programmes can have significant effective social impact. To minimise occurrence and consequences of falls, policies to systematically implement prevention programmes should be established.