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Analysis of the health profiles and prevalence of falls for patients over 65 years of age in a thermal environment

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A falls prevention programme has been initiated in balneotherapy at Balaruc-les-Bains.


To determine the health profiles of subjects who are at risk of falls, over 65 years of age and attending balneotherapy.


Questionnaires were used to evaluate people on their fear of falling. Fatigue was assessed by visual analog scale as well as by functional status over the past 12 months. EQ-5D-3L, the IPAQ questionnaire and Fried’s frailty scale were all used. Patients’ functional capabilities were tested using the Unipedal stance test, the TUG test, the SPPB, the Tandem walking test and the isometric manual grip strength test.


Out of the 1471 patients (72.45 years ± 5.10), the women (67%) were tested. In the last 12 months, 485 of these 1471 patients fell (33%) and 37% of them suffered a severe injury. 45–50% of these subjects are now in good health. Women had a significantly higher impaired perception of their health than men (0.02 < p < 0.0001). According to Fried’s criteria, 10.2% of the population is considered frail, with a significantly greater number of women (p < 0.0001). Static equilibrium was subnormal (less than 12 s during the TUG). The number of steps in tandem position discriminates individuals and gender as does the speed of moving from A to B and muscular strength.


More than one-third of the subjects (more women than men) aged 65 or older visiting the Balaruc-les-Bains health resort are pre-frail or frail. They all have a recent history of falls, suffer from impaired muscle strength, and have balance and gait disorders.

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The authors would like to thank AFRETH for collaboration on this research. The authors are very grateful to Anna Bedbrook for presubmission editorial assistance.

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Correspondence to P. L. Bernard.

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Bernard, P.L., Raffort, N., Aliaga, B. et al. Analysis of the health profiles and prevalence of falls for patients over 65 years of age in a thermal environment. Aging Clin Exp Res 32, 1713–1721 (2020).

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