To appraise the external validity of physical activity interventions designed to reduce falls among community-dwelling older adults, using the reach, efficacy/effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance framework.
Falls are a globally common, significant, and preventable problem. The efficacy of physical activity interventions to reduce falls among older adults is well established. Translation of this research into practice is slow as evidenced by persistently low proportions of older adults who engage in physical activities and the rising incidence of falls.
Four electronic databases were searched for relevant studies published between 2000 and 2010. Studies that examined the effects of physical activity interventions designed to reduce falls among community dwelling older adults were included in this review (n = 46).
This was a quantitative systematic review with narrative synthesis. The reach, efficacy/effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance framework guided the identification, appraisal, and synthesis of indicators representing study validity.
The majority of studies in this review described indicators representing internal validity. Details about indicators representing external validity were reported infrequently, limiting the generalizability of fall-preventive physical activity interventions in diverse cultures and social contexts over time.
To foster translational research in real world settings, additional programmatic intervention research is needed that: (a) targets diverse populations; (b) incorporates theories of behavioural change; (c) describes and operationalizes critical content that enables replication and translation; (d) tests innovative measures of fall risk and physical activity; and (e) evaluates feasibility and acceptability.