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Scand J Public Health. 2018 Sep 29:1403494818801628. doi: 10.1177/1403494818801628. [Epub ahead of print]

Physical function tests predict incident falls: A prospective study of 2969 men in the Swedish Osteoporotic Fractures in Men study.

Author information

1 Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit, Department of Orthopedics and Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Sweden.
2 Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
3 Geriatric Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
4 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Uppsala, Sweden.



Falls are common in the elderly population, and fall-related injuries are a major health issue. We investigated the ability of simple physical tests to predict incident falls.


The Swedish Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study includes 3014 population-based men aged 69-81 years at the start of the study. These men performed five different physical tests at baseline: right-hand grip strength, left-hand grip strength, timed stand test, 6 m walking test (time and steps) and narrow walking test. During the first study year, we asked participants to fill out questionnaires regarding falls 4, 8 and 12 months after baseline. A total of 2969 men completed at least one questionnaire and were included in this study. We used generalised estimating equations and logarithmic regression models to estimate odds ratios for fallers and recurrent fallers (more than one fall during the one-year examination period) in each quartile of men for each physical test.


The proportions of fallers and recurrent fallers were higher in the lowest quartile of the physical tests than in the other three quartiles combined for all physical tests. A reduction of one standard deviation in respective physical test resulted in a 13-21% higher risk of becoming a faller and a 13-31% higher risk of becoming a recurrent faller.


Low results on simple physical tests is a risk factor for incident falls in elderly Swedish men and may facilitate identification of high-risk individuals suitable for fall-intervention programs.


Elderly; fall prevention; falls; men; physical tests


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