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HHS HealthBeat (July 31, 2014)

Older walks and falls

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Walking for good health seems to be safer for older people than walking to get chores done. Researchers looked at falls among people age 70 or older who were generally healthy. 

Researcher Wenjun Li of the University of Massachusetts Medical School says walking on sidewalks for activities of daily living accounted for two times the risk of fall-related injury and four times the risk of injury requiring medical attention compared with walking for recreation in recreation areas.

Li suspects a possible reason:

“The higher risk of falling outdoors might be related to carrying heavy loads, which affects balance and gait.”

And he says the walkers might have been distracted.

The study in the American Journal of Public Health was supported by the National Institutes of Health. 

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: July 31, 2014