Frailty as a predictor of falls in older Mexican Americans

Rafael Samper-Ternent, Amol Karmarkar, James Graham, Tim Reistetter, Ken Ottenbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: Examine the relationship between frailty and falls. Method: A total of 847 Mexican Americans from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly were evaluated. The outcome variable was fall occurrence. Some predictor variables included were frailty, sociodemographic variables, functional and health status, and prior falls. Results: Those who fell were more likely to be women, not married, had prior falls, more functional problems and poorer health. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) for falls was 1.9 for nonfrail individuals and 3.2 for frail individuals. Prefrail individuals had 1.36 higher odds of falls (95% CI [1.11, 1.67]), individuals with prior falls had 1.26 higher odds of falls (95% CI [1.15, 1.37]), and those with poor balance had 1.49 higher odds of falls (95% CI [1.15, 1.95]) over the 2 years (p <.01). Discussion: Frailty increases the odds of falls in older Mexican Americans. Interventions tailored to reduce fall incidence and improve health care quality for older Mexican Americans are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-653
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • accidental falls
  • frail elderly
  • older Mexican Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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