- Purpose: This study examines the relationship between community-based fitness class participation and risk for falls in adults aged 55 or older. Our aim was to compare scores on fall risk factors between community-based Better Bones & Balance® (BBB) participants and active peers who engage in other (non-BBB) community-based fitness classes. Methods: 92 BBB participants (mean age: 70.1 + 7.8) and 33 non-BBB participants (mean age: 68.2 + 8.2) were recruited from community-based fitness facilities in Linn and Benton Counties. Participants completed a 25-question survey and six functional assessments to evaluate fall risk factors. Results: Examination of descriptive variables exposed significant differences in age, presence of disease/chronic condition, and history of physical activity. After controlling for these differences, we found BBB participants scored significantly better (p ≥ 0.003) on the Timed Up and Go (TUG) compared to non-BBB participants. All participants scored well below the cut off for fall risk in TUG (14 seconds). Conclusion: Engaging in community-based fitness classes in general have a positive effect on fall risk in adults aged 55 and older. Participating in BBB may have a greater effect on reducing TUG scores than other types of community-based classes.
Key Words: Better Bones & Balance®, Community-Based Fitness, Older Adults, Fall Prevention, Fall Risk Assessment, Healthy Aging.