Healthy Aging as an Intevention to Minimize Injury from Falls among Older People
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With global trends toward population aging, many countries are adopting healthy aging policies to minimize disability and increase quality in the extended years of life. Falls in older people are a major contributor to functional decline generally associated with aging. Based on a study quantifying the relationship between healthy aging factors and risk of fall-related hip fracture in community-dwelling older people, this paper discusses evidence for the promotion of healthy aging as a population-based intervention for prevention of injuries from falls. To examine the protective effect of healthy aging on the risk of fall-related hip fractures, a case-control study was conducted with 387 participants. Persons aged 65 and over hospitalized with a fall-related hip fracture were matched with community-based controls recruited via electoral roll sampling. A questionnaire designed to assess lifestyle risk factors, identified as determinants of healthy aging, was administered during face-to-face interviews. After adjustment for health status and demographic factors, a number of lifestyle factors were seen to have a significant independent protective effect on the risk of hip fracture. These included never smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, being active, maintaining normal weight, and being proactive in preventive health care. Psychosocial factors included having supportive environments and personal resources to cope with stress. This study identified a range of modifiable lifestyle factors associated with fall-related hip fracture, suggesting that the "healthy aging" paradigm offers a comprehensive approach to falls injury prevention, and thus supports the adoption of healthy aging policies to extend years of quality life among older persons.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences