Guidelines stress exercise, vitamin D to prevent falls in seniors

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 4, 2012

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In helping patients 65 and older avoid falls, physicians should prescribe vitamin D supplements, exercise and physical therapy, according to recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published online May 29 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Group exercise classes or at-home physiotherapy sessions are effective in reducing falls, which are the leading cause of injury death in the elderly, the task force said. Vitamin D supplements of 600 to 800 IU, depending on a patient’s age, show benefit in reducing falls by 17% within a year.

The task force also examined multifactorial clinical assessment and comprehensive management of fall risks and found the benefit to be small. Such preventive efforts should be offered on a case-by-case basis to patients who have fallen previously, are worried about falling or who have comorbidities that may raise their fall risk.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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