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Rev Esp Salud Publica. 2019 Jun 19;93. pii: e201906032.

[The effect of a falls prevention program in elderly people in primary health care. What does Tai Chi practice provide?]

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

Author information

Centro de Salud El Palo. Málaga. España.
>Centro de Salud El Palo. Málaga. España.


in English, Spanish


Falls in the elderly are a major health problem. There are multiple experiences of intervention in primary care. Aim: To evaluate the impact of a multifactorial intervention in the prevention of falls in elderly people. To compare the differential effect of the practice of Tai Chi.


Non-randomized before-after quasi-experimental design in an urban health center between the years 2014-2017. The study population was those over 65 years old with a high risk of falls. The intervention consisted of an individual assessment of risk factors: sensory problems, balance, orthostatic hypotension, treatments (psychotropic drugs, hypotensive drugs), barriers, technical aids. It was intervened in its correction. Tai Chi group participation is proposed. The dependent variables (baseline and year measurements) were Barthel, Unipodal Station Test (TEU), number of falls per year, Anxiety/Depression Goldberg Scale (EADG), number of medical consultations per year, walking aids, Daily Dose Defined of analgesics (DDD)/ year. The before-after analysis was performed using the Chi2 and T Student statistics for paired samples.


A total of 93 patients participated with an average age of 76+06,65, 84.9% women. Falls/year baseline 1.65 + 0.24; no significant differences between groups with or without Tai Chi in any baseline variable. At one year, average reduction of falls/year 0.53 (IC95% 0,07-0,99) (p=0.023), EADG anxiety 1.4±0.33 points (p<0.0001), EAGD depression 0.73±0.26 points (p=0.007). 44 patients practiced Tai Chi; finding: reduction of 1.88 (IC95% 0.90-2.80) points (p<0.0001) in EADG anxiety and 0.86 points (IC95% 0.12-1.60) (p=0.024) in EADG depression; 30.9% of patients abandoned technical aids (p<0.0001); 11% started psychotropic drugs. 49 patients did not practice Tai Chi; of them: EADG anxiety reduction of 1,020 points (IC95% 0.07-1.96) (p=0.035); 41.2% of patients initiated psychotropic drugs (p=0.001); none of the patients abandoned technical aids and 14.3% started them (p<0.001).


The intervention reduced the number of falls, anxiety, the use of psychotropic drugs, depression, and the use of walking aids, with differential benefit of Tai Chi in these last three aspects.


Accident prevention; Accidental falls; Health of the Elderly; Primary Health Care; Spain; Tai Ji


Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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