Falls and fall prevention are a major concern for the elderly and people with osteoporosis, a common chronic disease which causes weak and fragile bones. People with osteoporosis are at increased risk of fracture, even after a minor fall from standing height. A study presented today at the World Congress on Osteoporosis 2010 (IOF WCO-ECCEO10) shows that among elderly men the risk of falling, and thereby breaking a bone, is influenced by age. Most significantly, it also suggests that ethnicity and environment play a role in the risk of falling.
The 'Mr. OS' survey study analyzed the epidemiology of falls among more than 11,000 elderly men in Sweden, the US and Hong Kong. The results showed that although the frequency of falls increased significantly with age in each country, the risk of frequent falls (men who fell two or more times over the course of one year) did not vary significantly across the different age groups. The proportion of fallers in most age groups was highest in the US, intermediate in Sweden and lowest in Hong Kong. The proportion of frequent fallers showed a different pattern, being highest in Sweden, intermediate in the US and lowest in Hong Kong. The fall epidemiology did not differ when comparing Asian men living in Hong Kong or the US.