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Vitamin D, exercise linked to lower fall risk

May 29, 2012

Preventing falls is of the utmost importance to many older adults, and recent recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) provide some tips on how to do just that. The organization says that taking vitamin D supplements and getting regular exercise are two of the best ways to prevent falls in people over 65.

The guidelines may help a large number of older adults enjoy healthy aging. Between 30 to 40 percent of community-dwelling adults over 65 experience a fall every year, and between 5 to 10 percent of those suffered a laceration, fracture or other injury as a result. Even without a serious injury, a fall can take a significant toll, experts say.

"The emotional trauma can be significant with resultant insecurity, fear of being alone, personality changes, depression, and resistance to accepting necessary mechanical or personal assistance," Dr. Marvin M. Lipman told Consumer Reports.

The recommendations come after the USPSTF reviewed a number of studies on the impact of vitamin D and exercise. Researchers discovered a 17 percent lower risk of falls in people who took vitamin D supplements and a 13 percent reduced risk from exercise or physical therapy.