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Rev Saude Publica. 2012 Feb;46(1):138-46. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Prevalence of falls and associated factors in elderly individuals.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Núcleo de Assessoria, Treinamentos e Estudos em Saúde, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, MG, Brasil.



To estimate the prevalence of falls in elderly individuals and to analyze associated factors.


Cross-sectional study with 420 elderly subjects (aged 60 years or older) living in the city of Juiz de Fora (Southeastern Brazil) in 2010. A household survey was conducted and the occurrence of falls in the 12 previous months was described. For the analysis of factors associated with the outcome, a theoretical determination model with three hierarchical blocks was built. The variables were adjusted among each other within each block; those with level of significance < 0.20 were included in the Poisson regression model and adjusted to the immediately higher level, with 5% significance level.


The prevalence of falls among the elderly was 32.1% (95%CI: 27.7; 36.9). Among those who experienced falls, 53% had a single fall and 19% had fractures as a consequence. Most of the falls (59%) occurred at the elderly person's home. The occurrence of falls was associated with old age, female sex, need of help for locomotion and self-reported diagnosis of osteoporosis.


Falls are frequent among the elderly. Knowledge of the factors associated with the occurrence of this event can aid the development of prevention strategies and adequate health services.

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