This was the first study assessing falls prospectively in middle-aged women. The 1-year incidence was 42% for any fall, which suggest falls are a major issue in middle-aged women. Middle-aged women, particularly those sustaining a fall, could be a target group for fall-prevention strategies.
Incidence and circumstances of falls in middle-aged people are poorly understood. This cohort study aimed to elucidate the incidence and circumstances of falls over 1 year in middle-aged women.
Falls were recorded monthly for 1 year by questionnaire in 2017–2019 in a population-based sample of women aged 41–62 years. The incidence of falls and injurious falls and related circumstances were descriptively analysed.
Of 273 women, 115 sustained 209 falls. The 1-year incidence was 42% for any fall, 17% for multiple (two or more) falls, and 24% for injurious falls. The incidence was greater in older age groups for any fall (33, 45, and 44% for people aged < 50, 50–55, and > 55 years, respectively), multiple falls (7, 14, and 22%) and injurious falls (15, 20, and 28%), although only the incidence of multiple falls was significantly increased across the three age groups (P = 0.01). Most falls occurred outdoors (71%) and were attributed to tripping and slipping (60%)
Falls are a major issue in middle-aged women, a group that has been largely ignored in the prevention of falls. Middle-aged women, in particular those sustaining a fall, could be a target group for fall-prevention strategies. Future studies are needed to identify risk factors for falling in this population so as inform the development of strategies for preventing falls in middle-aged women.