Exercise for falls prevention in older people: Assessing the knowledge of exercise science students Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Participation in appropriate exercise can help reduce the risk of falls and falls injury in older people. Delivery of population-level exercise interventions requires an expert workforce with skills in development and delivery of group exercise programs and prescription of individually targeted exercise. This study assessed the current knowledge of university exercise science students (as future exercise professionals) across different levels of study. A structured survey designed to assess knowledge in relation to falls in older people and exercise prescription for falls prevention was administered during second, third and fourth year lectures in seven Australian universities. Students' knowledge was assessed as the percent of correct responses. Overall, 566 students completed the survey and knowledge levels increased significantly with study year. Mean knowledge levels were significantly <70%, indicating limited knowledge. They were lowest for falls risk factor questions and highest for issue/cost related questions in second and third year students. Fourth year students had best knowledge about falls interventions and this was the only group and topic with a mean score >70%. In conclusion, knowledge about falls and exercise prescription for falls prevention in current students does not meet a desired competency level of 70% and is therefore insufficient to ensure an adequately equipped future workforce in this area. There is a clear need for the development and widespread delivery of an evidence-based "exercise for falls prevention" curriculum module for exercise professionals.

authors

  • Sturnieks, Daina L
  • Finch, Caroline F
  • Close, Jacqueline CT
  • Tiedemann, Anne
  • Lord, Stephen R
  • Pascoe, Deborah A

publication date

  • January 2010