OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of community group exercise on falls prevention in older people living in their own residences.
DESIGN: Systematic review with meta-analysis. Twenty randomized controlled trials that compared fall rates in older people, who participated in group exercise programs, with fall rates in those who did not exercise.
SETTING: Community exercise centers.
PARTICIPANTS: Subjects 60 years of age and older, living in their own residences in their communities.
RESULTS: The pooled estimate of the incidence rate ratio (effect of exercise on fall rates) was 0.96 (95% CI= 0.64-1.53). There was a high level of heterogeneity in estimates of the effects of exercise (Chi2=635.43; 19 degrees of freedom (p>.OOOOl); I2=97%.
CONCLUSION: Group exercise can prevent falls in older people. Greater effects are seen in programs that include exercises that challenge balance and have a high dose of exercise (>50 hours in the trial period). These findings can be used to design and implement exercise programs for fall prevention.
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