Older Adults’ Participation in a Community-Based Falls Prevention Exercise Program: Relationships Between the EASY Tool, Program Attendance, and Health Outcomes

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Abstract

Purpose of the Study: The Exercise Assessment Screening for You (EASY) tool was developed to encourage older adults at every functional level to be more physically active. The purposes of this study were to examine characteristics of older adults who participated in an evidence-based falls prevention program by their entry to EASY tool scores, associations between EASY tool responses and class completion, and influences of EASY scores and items on improvements in days limited from usual activity and unhealthy physical health days. Methods and Design: The program consisted of eight sessions conducted statewide by trained lay leaders in Texas. Assessments were collected at the beginning of session 1 and conclusion of session 8. Data included responses of 2,235 older adults. Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the influence of individual EASY items and cumulative scores on health outcomes from baseline to postintervention. Results: Neither the composite EASY scores nor the individual items significantly influenced program attendance. Higher cumulative EASY scores and individual items were associated with improvements in both health outcomes. Implications: The EASY tool enabled seniors with major health problems to enroll in falls prevention classes, without the additional burden of requiring medical consent for participation.

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