Physically active older veterans fall more, but hurt themselves less

Hoffman head shotActive older veterans fall more often than their more sedentary peers who never served in the armed forces, but they’re less likely to injure themselves when they do, says U-M School of Nursing Assistant Professor Geoffrey Hoffman, Ph.D., MPH

The study compared risks of noninjury falls and fall-related injuries in veterans and nonveteran populations, including whether risks differed according to physical activity and age. Historically, veterans are more physically active than nonveterans.

Using data from 11,841 veterans and 36,710 nonveterans in the 2006-2015 waves of the Health and Retirement Study at the U-M Institute for Social Research, the study found that veterans had 11% more noninjury falls but 28% fewer injurious falls than nonveterans.

“The inference is that being active puts you at more risk for a fall, but if you are more active/in shape, the fall is more likely to be a minor one and not a serious one resulting in injury,” Hoffman said. “A worthwhile trade-off, arguably.”

Read the full story from Michigan News.