(HealthDay News) — The incidence of falls among older U.S. adults is increasing at roughly 1.5% per year, according to a research letter published online Feb. 11 in JAMA Network Open.

Geoffrey Hoffman, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used Medicare Part A and B claims (2016 through 2019) for beneficiaries 65 years of age and older to identify national trends and geographic variation in fall injuries.

The researchers identified 120.7 million fall-related claims. More than half involved women (55.8%), non-Hispanic White adults (80.9%), and adults aged 65 to 74 years (55.4%). Fewer claims were seen for adults aged 75 to 84 years (30%) and adults aged 85 years or older (14.6%). During the study period, there was a 4.4% overall increase (or 1.5% annual growth) for the mean age-adjusted and sex-adjusted national quarterly fall injury rate (1,332 fall injuries per 100,000 persons to 1,391 fall injuries per 100,000). Compared with counties at the 90th percentile, counties at the 10th percentile of fall rates had a 42.9% lower fall injury rate.

“This translates to an additional 106,000 new fall injuries nationally, or more than $1 billion in fall injury spending during the study period,” the authors write.

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