About 5% of all people older than 65 had to see a health care provider or restrict their activity due to a fall during a 3-month period, according a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
An estimated 5.8 million adults older than 65 reported they fell at
least once in the previous 3 months, and 1.8 million of them sought medical
help or restricted their activity for at least a day, according to the study.
To estimate the frequency of a broad range of fall injuries, researchers
analyzed data from the CDC’s 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
System. In an effort to improve recall accuracy, elders were asked if they had
fallen and been injured within the previous 3 months. Researchers caution that
this is a snapshot and should not be used to estimate the number of annual
Among other findings:
- No difference existed in the percentage of men and women who reported
falling in the previous 3 months, but about 36% of women reported injuries
compared with about 25% of men.
- American Indian/Alaska Natives reported the highest percentage of falls
- About 30% of people who fell reported sustaining an injury that led
them to visit a healthcare provider or restrict their activity for at least a
As the U.S. population ages, the problem of older adult falls is
expected to increase.
The CDC has developed several new guides and resources that describe the
best ways to reduce the risk of falls. For more information and resources to
develop effective fall prevention programs, visit the Web sites at