Every year falls affect approximately one in three older adults living at home, with approximately one in 10 falls resulting in serious injury. Even if an injury does not occur, the fear of falling can lead to reduced activity and a loss of independence.
Research has shown that vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining muscle integrity and strength and some studies suggest vitamin D may reduce the risk of falls.
Homebound elderly, a generally vulnerable population due to poor dietary intake and nutrition-related health conditions as well as decreased exposure to sunlight, are at increased risk for low vitamin D levels, possibly leading to more falls.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center set out to evaluate the feasibility of delivering a vitamin D supplement through a Meals-on-Wheels (MOW) program to improve the clients’ vitamin D levels and reduce falls.
The study showed that the monthly vitamin D supplement was effective in increasing the concentrations of vitamin D in the blood from insufficient to sufficient levels in all but one of the 34 people who received it, and to optimal levels in all but five people. In addition, people in the vitamin D group reported approximately half the falls of those in the control group.