Physical Activity and Falls Among a National Cohort of Older Veterans

TitlePhysical Activity and Falls Among a National Cohort of Older Veterans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMarciniak, D, Alexander, NB, Hoffman, GJ
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
KeywordsAging, Disability, Falls, Physical activity, Veterans

The more than 20 million U.S. veterans have a history of physical activity engagement but face increasing disability as they age. Falls are common among older adults, but there is little evidence on veterans’ fall risk. We conducted a retrospective cohort study using 48,643 observations from 14,831 older (≥65 years) Americans from the 2006–2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Veterans reported more noninjurious falls (26.6% vs. 24.0%, p < .002), but fewer fall-related injuries (8.9% vs. 12.3%, p < .001) than nonveterans. In adjusted analyses, for each 5-year increase in age, the odds of a noninjurious fall were greater for veterans (odds ratio [OR] = 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.01, 1.10]) and, among those with regular physical activity, the odds were lower for veterans compared with nonveterans (OR = 0.89; 95% CI = [0.81, 0.99]). For veterans, physical activity engagement may prove a particularly effective mechanism for reducing the aging-related risks associated with falls and fall injuries.

Citation Key10678
PubMed ID32274955
PubMed Central IDPMC7554127