Inserm Research Director
Inserm Unit 1153 « Epidemiology and biostatistics »
Following a programme of physical exercise based on balance and building muscle strength reduces the risk of injury from falls by nearly 20% in women aged over 75 years. This study, conducted by Patricia Dargent, has just been published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). ©fotolia
Falls are very common in older people, with approximately one in three people over the age of 65 experiencing at least one fall per year. The resulting injuries often require medical care, and lead to a significantly altered quality of life and accelerated functional decline that can in turn lead to a progressive loss of autonomy and admission to a healthcare facility.
In total, 706 women aged 75-85 years (mean age 80), living in their own homes and with reduced balance and walking ability, participated in the Ossébo trial in 20 study centres distributed throughout France. Participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups, one group that underwent the exercise programme and a “control” group with no intervention.
The exercise programme involved weekly sessions in small groups supervised by a facilitator, supplemented by exercises to do at home at least once a week, all for a period of 2 years.
For the 2 years of the study, women in the “intervention” group had significantly fewer traumatic falls (falls causing moderate to severe injuries, requiring medical care or impeding activities of daily living for at least 3 days) than women in the control group. They also scored better on clinical tests of balance and walking, and considered themselves to be in better physical health than women in the control group.
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Effectiveness of two year balance training programme on prevention of fall induced injuries in at risk women aged 75-85 living in community: Ossébo randomised controlled trial
Fabienne El-Khoury, doctoral researcher123, Bernard Cassou, professor of public health and geriatrician456,Aurélien Latouche, professor in biostatistics7,Philippe Aegerter, professor in clinical research458,Marie-Aline Charles, senior researcher in epidemiology23,Patricia Dargent-Molina, senior researcher in epidemiology23
1Université Paris-Sud, UMR-S1018, F-94807, Villejuif, France 2Université Paris Descartes, UMR-S 1153, F-75014, Paris, France 3Inserm, Centre de Recherche Epidémiologie et Statistique Sorbonne Paris Cité (CRESS), U1153, F-94807, Villejuif, France 4UVSQ, UMR-S 1168, Université Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France 5Inserm, VIMA: Vieillissement et Maladies Chroniques, U1168, F-94807, Villejuif, France 6AP-HP, Hôpital Sainte Périne, Centre de Gérontologie, F-75016, Paris, France 7Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers (Cnam), Centre for Research in Computer Science and Telecommunications (Cédric), EA4629, Paris, Franc 8A1 AP-HP, Hôpital Ambroise Paré, Unité de Recherche Clinique, Département de Santé Publique, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
The BMJ, 22 July 2015