Factors associated with poor balance ability in older adults of nine high-altitude communities

Diego Urrunaga-Pastor, Enrique Moncada-Mapelli, Fernando M. Runzer-Colmenares, Zaira Bailon-Valdez, Rafael Samper-Ternent, Leocadio Rodriguez-Mañas, Jose F. Parodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: Poor balance ability in older adults result in multiple complications. Poor balance ability has not been studied among older adults living at high altitudes. In this study, we analysed factors associated with poor balance ability by using the Functional Reach (FR) among older adults living in nine high-altitude communities. Material and methods: Analytical cross-sectional study, carried out in inhabitants aged 60 or over from nine high-altitude Andean communities of Peru during 2013–2016. FR was divided according to the cut-off point of 8 inches (20.32 cm) and two groups were generated: poor balance ability (FR less or equal than 20.32 cm) and good balance ability (greater than 20.32 cm). Additionally, we collected socio-demographic, medical, functional and cognitive assessment information. Poisson regression models were constructed to identify factors associated with poor balance ability. Prevalence ratio (PR) with 95% confidence intervals (95CI%) are presented. Results: A total of 365 older adults were studied. The average age was 73.0 ± 6.9 years (range: 60–91 years), and 180 (49.3%) participants had poor balance ability. In the adjusted Poisson regression analysis, the factors associated with poor balance ability were: alcohol consumption (PR = 1.35; 95%CI: 1.05–1.73), exhaustion (PR = 2.22; 95%CI: 1.49–3.31), gait speed (PR = 0.67; 95%CI: 0.50–0.90), having had at least one fall in the last year (PR = 2.03; 95%CI: 1.19–3.46), having at least one comorbidity (PR = 1.60; 95%CI: 1.10–2.35) and having two or more comorbidities (PR = 1.61; 95%CI: 1.07–2.42) compared to none. Conclusions: Approximately a half of the older adults from these high-altitude communities had poor balance ability. Interventions need to be designed to target these balance issues and prevent adverse events from concurring to these individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Altitude
  • Elderly
  • Falls
  • Latin America
  • Peru
  • Postural balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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