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Rev Saude Publica. 2018 Oct 25;52Suppl 2(Suppl 2):12s. doi: 10.11606/S1518-8787.2018052000635.

Falls among Brazilian older adults living in urban areas: ELSI-Brazil.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

Author information

Universidade de Brasília. Faculdade de Ceilândia. Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências e Tecnologias em Saúde. Brasília, DF, Brasil.
Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde. Coordenação de Saúde da Pessoa Idosa. Brasília, DF, Brasil.
Universidade Federal de Goiás. Faculdade de Enfermagem. Goiânia, GO, Brasil.
Universidade de São Paulo. Faculdade de Saúde Pública. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Saúde Pública. São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. Instituto René Rachou. Núcleo de Estudos em Saúde Pública e Envelhecimento. Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil.
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. Instituto René Rachou. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Saúde Coletiva. Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil.
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. Instituto de Comunicação e Informação Científica e Tecnológica em Saúde. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.



To assess the prevalence and factors associated with falls in a nationally representative sample of older Brazilians residing in urban areas.


Data from 4,174 participants (60 years or older) from the baseline of ELSI-Brazil, conducted between 2015 and 2016, were used. The outcome variable was the reporting of one or more falls in the last 12 months. The exploratory variables were sociodemographic characteristics, factors related to the urban environment, and health conditions. Statistical analysis was performed using Poisson regression.


The prevalence of falls was 25.1%. Of these, 1.8% resulted in a hip or femur fracture and, among them, 31.8% required surgery for prosthesis placement. Statistically significant associations (p < 0.05) with falls were observed for females [prevalence ratio (PR) = 1.26], age group of 75 years or older (PR = 1.21), fear of falling due to defective sidewalks (PR = 1.47), fear of crossing streets (PR = 1.22), diabetes (PR = 1.17), arthritis or rheumatism (PR = 1.29), and depression (PR = 1.53). No significant associations were found for educational level, marital status, hypertension, and perception of violence in the neighborhood.


The factors associated with falls among older adults are multidimensional, comprising individual characteristics and the urban environment, which indicates the need for intra and intersectoral actions to prevent falls in this population.

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