Fall risk in Chinese community-dwelling older adults: A physiological profile assessment study

Kar Ho Siong, Marcella Mun San Kwan, Stephen R. Lord, Kwok Cheung Andrew Lam, Wai Nam Tsang, Ming Yan Cheong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The short-form Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA) is increasingly used in clinical practice for assessing fall risk in older people. However, a normative database is only available for Caucasian populations. The purpose of the present study was to develop a normative database for Hong Kong Chinese older people and examine the fall risk profile of this population. Methods: A total of 622 participants aged 60-95 years were recruited. Participants underwent the PPA (containing tests of contrast sensitivity, proprioception, quadriceps strength, reaction time and sway), and composite fall risk scores were computed. Participants were then followed up for falls for 1 year. Results: Quadriceps strength and lower limb proprioception scores were comparable with those reported for Caucasian populations. However, contrast sensitivity, simple reaction time and postural sway scores were relatively poor. The average composite fall risk score was 1.7±1.5, showing a "moderate" fall risk when compared with the Caucasian norms. Despite the relatively poor physical performances and moderately high fall risk scores, the incidence of one plus falls in the 1-year follow-up period was just 16.4%, with just 2.6% reporting two plus falls. The area under the curve for composite fall risk scores in discriminating fallers from non-fallers was 0.53 (95% CI 0.45-0.60). Conclusions: Despite poorer performance in PPA tests, the incidence of prospective falls in a Hong Kong Chinese population was low. In consequence, the PPA could not discriminate well between fallers and non-fallers. The present study provided normality data for short-form PPA measures for older Chinese people as a reference for further studies. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2016; 16: 259-265.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Accidental falls
  • Assessment
  • Balance
  • Older adults
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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