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J Clin Epidemiol. 1990;43(12):1415-20.

Examination by logistic regression modelling of the variables which increase the relative risk of elderly women falling compared to elderly men.

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Department of Medicine, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.


In a community based, prospective study to determine risk factors for falls, 465 women and 296 men 70 years and over were followed for 1 year and 507 falls were documented. A greater proportion of women (32.7%) than men (23.0%) experienced at least one fall in which there was no or minimal external contribution. Using unconditional logistic regression models we investigated the effect of physical and sociological variables on the sex difference in fall rate. Controlling for the variables age, use of psychotropic drugs, inability to rise from a chair without using arms, going outdoors less than daily and living alone decreased the relative risk of women falling compared to men from 2.02 (95% CI, 1.40-2.92) to 1.55 (95% CI 1.04-2.31). Some of the increased risk of falling associated with being a women was able to be explained and is potentially correctable. But even after controlling for the physical and social variables which we had assessed, women compared to men still had a significantly increased relative risk of falling.

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