This study was supported by an unrestricted grant from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports.
Walking and Talking as Predictors of Falls in the General Population: The Leiden 85-Plus Study
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2003
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 51, Issue 10, pages 1466–1471, October 2003
How to Cite
Bootsma-van der Wiel, A., Gussekloo, J., De Craen, A. J.M., Van Exel, E., Bloem, B. R. and Westendorp, R. G. J. (2003), Walking and Talking as Predictors of Falls in the General Population: The Leiden 85-Plus Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 51: 1466–1471. doi: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2003.51468.x
- Issue published online: 23 SEP 2003
- Article first published online: 23 SEP 2003
- general population
Objectives: To compare the value of dual tasking in predicting falling in the general population of oldest old with that of easy-to-administer single tasks.
Design: Prospective population-based follow-up study.
Setting: Municipality of Leiden, the Netherlands.
Participants: Representative cohort of 380 individuals, all aged 85 at baseline.
Measurements: During enrollment, walking time over a 12-meter distance was measured, as well as the verbal fluency to recite names of animals or professions during a 30-second period. In the dual task, performance was assessed when participants combined walking with reciting names. Incidence of falls and fractures was assessed by interviewing participants and checking their medical histories.
Results: After 1 year of follow-up, 42% of the participants reported one or more falls, and 4% suffered a fracture. Total walking time, number of steps, and verbal fluency were all strongly related to incident falls (P for trend for all <.01), but dual-task performance was not a better predictor for incident falls than single-task performance.
Conclusion: The dual-task test in this study had no predictive value above that of a single-task test to predict falling. Dual tasks with more-sensitive measures of impaired dual-task execution might have better test characteristics. In this study, history of falls and performance on an easy-to-administer single walking task identified old persons at higher risk for falling who could benefit from fall preventive strategies.