Comparative effectiveness of exercise interventions for preventing falls in older adults: A secondary analysis of a systematic review with network meta-analysis
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BACKGROUND: Systematic reviews have established that exercise reduces falls in older adults, however the most effective types of exercise are not known. This secondary analysis determined the comparative effectiveness of fall prevention exercise approaches. METHOD: All fall prevention exercise interventions for older adults were identified from an existing search from inception until April 2017. Interventions were coded using a framework of 25 exercise types. Two reviewers independently screened studies, extracted data, and appraised risk of bias. Pairwise meta-analysis and network meta-analysis (NMA) were conducted. P-scores were used to rank exercise combinations. RESULTS: One hundred and sixty-nine studies were included. NMA was conducted on 73 studies (30,697 participants) for the outcome of number of fallers. The exercise combination ranked with the greatest likelihood of being most effective relative to no exercise was: anticipatory control, dynamic stability, functional stability limits, reactive control and flexibility (p-score = 0.95). This exercise combination also significantly reduced number of fallers compared to 16 other combinations. No exercise combination had a significantly greater effect on reducing number of fallers more than this combination. CONCLUSION: This analysis identified components of effective fall prevention exercise. The results can inform evidence-informed exercise recommendations and be used to design effective programs.
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