C.WANG1, J.G.DE ROZA1, K.C.GOH2, L.J.GOH1, D.NG1, C.SOH1
NHG Polyclinics1, National University Hospital2
Fear of falling (FoF) may result in physical activity restriction, which is associated with poorer health outcomes in older adults. This study aimed to compare the difference in physical activity relating to FoF among community-dwelling older adults.
This descriptive cross-sectional study used convenience sampling to recruit adults aged 65 and above in 4 primary care clinics from September 2020 to March 2021. FoF was measured with the Short Falls Efficacy Scale–International (Short FES-I). Higher scores indicate greater FoF. Physical activity was measured by the Incidental and Planned Exercise Questionnaire: Weekly Average (IPEQ-WA). Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine differences in FoF between those who exercised and met exercise recommendations versus those who did not. Pearson’s correlation was used to determine association between FoF and total duration of exercise per week.
Of 360 participants recruited; mean aged 78.3, majority (78.1%) Chinese and 59.7% females. The mean exercise duration was 2.34 hours per week. Only 26.4% met recommended duration of 2.5 hours. Mean FoF score was 15.5. Those who had any exercise and met exercise recommendations had significantly lower FoF score compared to those who did not (15.0 vs 17.0, U=12910, p=0.022 and 11.6 vs 16.9, U=6075, p<0.001 respectively). Higher FoF score was associated with lower total duration of exercise per week (r=-0.327, p<0.001).
This study showed that many older adults did not meet recommended physical activity for optimal health benefits. FoF is an important barrier to this. Future studies may explore interventions to increase older adults’ self-efficacy to exercise safely.