Preventing falls in older people


The typical Western diet and lifestyle promote the emergence of several chronic disorders; one of them (related to aging) has a very long name: osteosarcopenic obesity, which translated means deterioration of bone health, decline in muscle strength and mass, and increased presence of fat tissue in muscle and bone.

The main causes of this problem are chronic diseases, drug therapy, genetic predisposition and environmental factors, but poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are important as well. Older adults are always potentially at nutritional risk, because they often eat high-calorie/low-nutrient foods and insufficient dietary fiber, frequently have decreased appetite, and their ability to absorb some essential nutrients (most vitamins and minerals) is decreased.

One of the most common health problems among people who suffer from osteosarcopenic obesity is the elevated risk of falls and fractures. For older people, a fall can be the start of more serious problems: fractures (affecting the pelvis, wrist, arm or hip), injuries, and fear of falling (which restricts their activity and leads to a gradual loss of independence). So, prevention is very important.

To improve diet and physical activity (resistance or aerobic training, Tai Chi, Pilates, etc.) might help in preventing or alleviating this disorder. Nutritional modifications include adequate intake of protein, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, and increasing also consumptions of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA have been shown to promote bone formation and reduce the negative effects of adiposity on bone) and fiber.




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