Graduation Date

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Program

Master of Science degree with a major in Kinesiology, option Exercise Science

Committee Chair Name

Justus Ortega

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Tina Manos

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Sheila Alicea

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Kinesiology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine fall risk behaviors and intrinsic risk factors for falls in rural dwelling indigenous and non-indigenous older adults in California. Methods: Participants included 157 adults 60+ years of age (89 indigenous and 68 non- indigenous) and were recruited from advertisements in local newspapers, senior centers, and health clinics in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. Fall risk behaviors and intrinsic risk factors for falls were identified through administration of a demographic, fall risk, and physical activity questionnaire as well as the chair stand, functional reach, timed up and go, four-meter walk, and modified clinical test of sensory integration and balance. Results: Analyses indicated indigenous and non-indigenous older adults differed in age, percentage who fell two or more times in the past year, number of medications taken, percentage that exercise daily, and hours of daily exercise. Analyses indicated indigenous older adults performed worse on tests of intrinsic fall risk including the chair stand, timed up and go, functional reach, and condition 1 of the M-CTSIB test (eyes open, firm surface). Conclusion: Although indigenous and non-indigenous older adults share similar fall rates, there were a greater number of indigenous older adults who fell multiple times a year. Strength, balance, and mobility were also significantly more impaired in indigenous older adults. Information gained from this study can help to inform clinicians and researchers about the prevalence of falls and factors contributing to falls among older indigenous Americans living in rural communities, and help to influence decisions in the future of programs for reducing fall risk in this often neglected population.

Citation Style

American Journal Public Health

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