What do community-dwelling Caucasian and South Asian 60–70 year olds think about exercise for fall prevention?

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Abstract

Background

strategies to prevent falls often recommend regular exercise. However, 40% of over 50s in the UK report less physical activity than is recommended. Even higher rates of sedentary behaviour have been reported among South Asian older adults.

Objective

to identify salient beliefs that influence uptake and adherence to exercise for fall prevention among community-dwelling Caucasian and South Asian 60–70 year olds in the UK.

Methods

we undertook an ethnographic study using participant observation, 15 focus groups (n=87; mean age=65.7 years) and 40 individual semi-structured interviews (mean age=64.8 years). Data analysis used framework analysis.

Results

young older adults do not acknowledge their fall risk and are generally not motivated to exercise to prevent falls. Those who had fallen are more likely to acknowledge risk of future falls. Whilst many of the beliefs about falls and exercise expressed were very similar between Caucasians and South Asians, there was a tendency for South Asians to express fatalistic beliefs more often.

Conclusion

fall prevention should not be the focus of strategies to increase uptake and adherence to exercise. The wider benefits of exercise, leading to an active healthy lifestyle should be encouraged.

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