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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2005 May-Jun;17(5-6):362-9.

Falls among elderly persons in Latin America and the Caribbean and among elderly Mexican-Americans.

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University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-0460, USA.



To estimate the prevalence of and risk factors for falls among community-dwelling elders in Latin America and the Caribbean and among elderly Mexican-Americans in the southwestern United States.


Data for the study came from a project called Health, Well-Being, and Aging in Latin America and the Caribbean (Salud, Bienestar y Envejecimiento en América Latina y el Caribe) (the "SABE project") (surveys from seven cities, with a total of 9,765 subjects) and from the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (H-EPESE) (1,483 subjects).


The overall prevalence of falls across the seven SABE cities and the H-EPESE ranged from 21.6% in Bridgetown, Barbados, to 34.0% in Santiago, Chile. In multiple logistic regression analyses, female gender, increased age, high depressive symptoms, and having any functional limitations were significant independent risk factors for falls in most of the cities studied as well as among the elderly Mexican-Americans. In several of the cities, significant risk factors also included diabetes, urinary incontinence, and arthritis.


The prevalence of falls had a large variation among the countries studied. Some of the risk factors that we identified could be modified so as to help prevent falls in older people in these populations. The factors deserving attention include depressive symptoms, functional limitations, diabetes, and urinary incontinence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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