Women at Greater Risk for Falls than Men in Old Age

May 27, 2016
Perry Gwen Meyers, pmeyers@paltc.org

May 27, 2016
Contact: Perry Gwen Meyers

Women at Greater Risk for Falls than Men in Old Age


Falls present a huge and common risk to the elderly, including fractures – the majority of which are caused by falls. A recent study shows that 70 year-old women are at greater risk of falling compared to men. The higher risk among women can be attributed to variability in gait when multitasking.

The study, published in JAMDA – The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, was conducted as part of the Healthy Ageing Initiative at Umeå University, Sweden. Study participants performed three challenging gait tasks: walking normally at a preferred pace, walking as rapidly as possible while maintaining control, and walking at a self-selected pace while counting backward from 100.

Study results:

  • There was an approximately 50% greater risk of incident falls in women than men.
  • The greater risk was associated with increased gait variability, predominately during dual-task assignments.
  • Increased gait variability was seen in both fallers and non-fallers, suggesting that increased gait variability in women during multi-tasking may contribute to their increased risk of falls, and thereby, to their known greater risks of fractures.

To read the full study, click here or contact pmeyers@paltc.org. To contact the researchers or JAMDA Editor for interview contact pmeyers@paltc.org.


JAMDA is the official journal of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. JAMDA publishes peer-reviewed articles including original studies, reviews, clinical experience articles, case reports, and more, on all topics more important to post-acute and long-term care medicine. Visit www.jamda.com for more information.

AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings. Dedicated to defining and improving quality, we advance our mission through timely professional development, evidence-based clinical guidance, and tireless advocacy on behalf of members, patients, families, and staff. Visit www.paltc.org for more information.