Prevalence of falls in elderly in Brazil: a countrywide analysis

Monday, 18 August 2014: 5:00 PM
Ballroom D (Dena'ina Center)
Fernando V Siqueira, PhD , Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil
Denise S Silveira, PhD , Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil
Elaine Tomasi, PhD , Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil
Elaine Thumé, PhD , Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil
Suele M Silva, PhD , Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil
Aliteia Dilelio, MS , Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, Pelotas, Brazil
Luiz A Facchini, PhD , Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil
INTRODUCTION: The demographic transition characterized by population aging is a global phenomenon resulting from factors that include lower fertility rates and increased life expectancy. Falls are one of the most important health hazards at this stage of life, which has drawn researchers interest to improving the understanding and prevention of what are considered modifiable risk factors, and to building the human resources necessary to provide preventive care for this population  

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of a sample of 6,616 elderly living in urban areas of 100 municipalities in 23 Brazilian states, who responded to questions on the occurrence of falls in the 12 months prior to the interview, and occurrence of fractures due to the falls.  

RESULTS: The prevalence of falls among the elderly was 27.6% (95%CI: 26.5-28.7). The prevalence of falls by geographical region of Brazil ranged from 18.6% (95%CI: 15.3-21.8) in the North Region to 30% (95%CI: 28.2-31.9) in the Southeast Region. Among those reporting falls, 11% had suffered fractures as a result. Of the elderly, 36% had received guidance about the precautions necessary to prevent falls, and about 1% had required surgery. Falls were associated with female gender, older age, low socioeconomic status, obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The prevalence of falls differed significantly between the North and other regions of Brazil.  


Finally, our results show that the prevalence of falls is high among the elderly, warranting the conclusion that a high proportion of elderly still suffer falls. Meanwhile, there are still shortcomings in the promotion of health care for the elderly with regard to sedentarism, overweight and obesity, and in guidance on necessary environmental precautions to prevent falls, many of which result in fractures and the need for health care. In that regard, there is an urgent need for more care for this population.