Osteoporosis International

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 2017–2025 | Cite as

The effect of exercise and education on fear of falling in elderly women with osteoporosis and a history of vertebral fracture: results of a randomized controlled trial

  • C. F. Olsen
  • A. Bergland
Original Article



This article explores the effect of a group-based exercise program and an educational session on the fear of falling among 89 women with osteoporosis and a history of vertebral fracture. This randomized clinical trial showed that the intervention had a positive and durable effect on the fear of falling.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of an intervention on fear of falling in women with osteoporosis and a history of vertebral fracture.


The study was a parallel-group randomized clinical trial with a blinded assessor. The participants were 89 community-dwelling elderly women with osteoporosis and a history of vertebral fracture. The intervention group (IT, n = 47) received a 3-month group-based circuit exercise program combined with a 3-h educational session focusing on the reduction of the risk of falls and challenges specific to osteoporosis and vertebral fractures. The control group (CT, n = 42) continued with their usual activities. Clinical outcomes were assessed at baseline, postintervention and 12 months after randomization. This article reports on the secondary outcome Falls Efficacy Scale—International (FES-I) from a previously reported trial.


We found a significantly better result for the IT group compared with the CT group, both at 3 months (p = 0.004) and 12 months (p < 0.001) follow-up. The effect size at 3 months was small (0.4) and at 12 months moderate (0.7). Multiple regression analysis confirmed the effect of the intervention.


The intervention had a positive and durable effect on fear of falling as measured with the FES-I.


Fear of falling Moderate-intensity circuit exercises Osteoporosis Vertebral fracture 



The project was funded by “The Norwegian Fund for Post-Graduate Training in Physiotherapy”, which had no role in the project implementation, analysis, interpretation or writing up of the project. We acknowledge Hilde Thorsen and Rannveig Kåresen for their contributions to data collection and Milada Cvancarova Småstuen (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HIOA), Oslo) for statistical advice in this project.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kingosgate Rehabilitation CenterNursing Home AgencyOsloNorway
  2. 2.Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HIOA)OsloNorway

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