Distribution, determinants, and prevention of falls among the elderly in the 2011-2012 California health interview survey

Zijian Qin, Lorena Baccaglini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives. Falls in the geriatric population are a major public health issue. With the anticipated aging of the population, falls are expected to increase nationally and globally. We estimated the prevalence and determinants of falls in adults aged ≥65 years and calculated the proportion of elderly who fell and made lifestyle changes as a result of professional recommendations. Methods. We included adults aged ≥65 years from the 2011-2012 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and categorized them into two groups based on whether or not they had had at least two falls in the previous 12 months. We performed logistic regression analysis adjusted for the complex survey design to determine risk factors for falls and compare the odds of receiving professional recommendations among elderly with vs. without falls. Results. Of an estimated 4.3 million eligible elderly participants in the CHIS (2011-2012), an estimated 527,340 (12.2%) fell multiple times in the previous 12 months. Of those, 204,890 (38.9%) were told how to avoid falls by a physician and 211,355 (40.1%) received medical treatment, although fewer than 41.0% had made related preventive changes to avoid future falls. Falls were associated with older age, less walking, and poorer physical or mental health. Non-Asians had higher odds of falling compared with Asians (adjusted odds ratio 5 1.69, 95% confidence interval 1.16, 2.45). Most participants reported changing medications, home, or daily routines on their own initiative rather than after professional recommendations. Conclusion. Patients with a history of falls did not consistently receive professional recommendations on fall prevention-related lifestyle or living condition changes. Given the high likelihood of a serious fall, future interventions should focus on involving primary care physicians in active preventive efforts before a fall occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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