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Journal Article

Citation

Lee S, Lee C, Ory MG. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019; 16(18): e16183230.

Affiliation

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX 77843, USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)

DOI

10.3390/ijerph16183230

PMID

31487783

Abstract

Neighborhood environments have been increasingly associated with incidents of falling and the fear of falling. However, little is known about the causal impact of neighborhood environments on falling. This study identifies whether changes in outdoor environmental attributes over a one-year period are associated with the occurrence of recent falls among community-dwelling older adults aged 65 and older in the United States. Data were obtained from 4802 adults aged 65 years or older from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify neighborhood risk factors linked to the odds of experiencing recent falls at the one-year follow-up. Almost one in ten subjects (9.7% of 4802 subjects) who had not fallen before reported experiencing recent falls after one year. After adjusting for sociodemographic, health, and walking-related behavioral covariates, these subjects were more likely to reside in areas with higher environmental barriers on sidewalks/streets and uneven walking surfaces or broken steps, compared to non-fallers. Our findings suggest that safe and well-maintained outdoor environments may help prevent falls among community-dwelling older adults who engage in outdoor activities. Clinical and environmental interventions for promoting both safe walking and safe environments are warranted.


Language: en

Keywords

elderly; falls; outdoor environmental characteristics

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