Background/Objective: Physical activity has been shown to be beneficial at improving health in some medical conditions and in preventing injury. Epidemiologic studies suggest that physical activity is one factor associated with a decreased risk for slips and falls in the older (≥65 years) adult population. While the risk of slips and falls is generally lower in younger than in older adults; little is known of the relative contribution of physical activity in preventing slips and falls in younger adults. We examined whether engagement in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) was protective of slips and falls among a younger/middle-aged (≤50 years old) working population. Methods: 475 workers from 36 limited-service restaurants in six states in the U.S. were recruited to participate in a prospective cohort study of workplace slipping. Information on LTPA was collected at the time of enrollment. Participants reported their slip experience and work hours weekly for up to 12 weeks. We investigated the association between the rate of slipping and the rate of major slipping (i.e., slips that resulted in a fall and/or injury) and LTPA for workers 50 years of age and younger (n = 433, range 18-50 years old) using a multivariable negative binomial generalized estimating equation model. Results: The rate of major slips among workers who engaged in moderate (Adjusted Rate Ratio (RR) = 0.65; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = [0.18-2.44]) and vigorous (RR = 0.64; 95%CI = [0.18-2.26]) LTPA, while non-significant, were approximately one-third lower than the rate of major slips among less active workers. Conclusion: While not statistically significant, the results suggest a potential association between engagement in moderate and vigorous LTPA and the rate of major slips in younger adults. Additional studies that examine the role of occupational and non-occupational physical activity on the risk of slips, trips and falls among younger and middle aged adults appear warranted.
Caban-Martinez, A. J., Courtney, T. K., Chang, W. R., Lombardi, D. A., Huang, Y. H., Brennan, M. J., … Verma, S. K. (2014). Preventing slips and falls through leisure-time physical activity: Findings from a study of limited-service restaurants. PLoS ONE, 9(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0110248