One-third of older adults have maladaptive fall risk appraisal (FRA), a condition in which there is a discrepancy between the level of fear of falling (FOF) and physiological fall risk (balance performance). Older adults who overestimate their physiological fall risk and report a high FOF are less likely to participate in physical activity. Limited data suggest that the association among FOF, body composition, and physical activity intensity differs by fear severity.
This study aims to examine the associations among FRA, body composition, and physical activity using assistive health technology, including the BTrackS balance system, bioelectrical impedance analysis, and activity monitoring devices. This study also aims to examine the feasibility of recruitment and acceptability of technologies and procedures for use among older adults in low-income settings.
This cross-sectional study will be conducted in older adults’ homes or apartments in low-income settings in Central Florida, United States. Following consent, participants will be contacted, and our team will visit them twice. The first visit includes questionnaire completion (eg, sociodemographic or FOF) and balance performance test using the BTrackS balance system. The participants will be stratified by the FRA matrix. In addition, they will perform hand grip strength and dynamic balance performance tests. Participants will then be asked to wear the ActiGraph GT9X Link wireless activity monitor on the nondominant wrist for 7 consecutive days. The second visit includes body composition testing and a structured interview about the acceptability of the technologies and procedures.
Ethical approval was obtained from the institutional review board of the University of Central Florida (protocol number 2189; September 10, 2020). As of December 2020, participation enrollment is ongoing and the results are expected to be published in Summer 2022.
Accurate FRA is essential for implementing physical activity programs, especially in older adults with low income. This study will provide data for developing technology-based fall risk assessments to improve participation in physical activity, thus enhancing healthy longevity among older adults in low-income settings.