The effects of the Otago exercise programme on actual and perceived balance in older adults: a meta-analysis

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

Key Points

  1. The Otago Exercise Program has been identified to be an effective intervention strategy for addressing reduced balance.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

In 2018 in the United States, an estimated 27.5% of older adults reported falling at least once in the past year. That same year, 3 million emergency department visits and approximately 32,000 deaths resulted from fall-related injuries among older adults (1). A major factor associated with falls among older adults is a decrease in strength, balance, fear of falling, and lower levels of balance confidence (2).

Unfortunately, the most appropriate and effective exercise training protocol is unclear. A program with promising results related to addressing one’s balance is the Otago Exercise Program (OEP) (3). The OEP is a program that was designed to prevent falls and consists of a set of exercises for strengthening and balance (4). See Box 1 for a summary of the OEP.

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The objective of this meta-analysis was to investigate the effects of the OEP intervention on static, dynamic, proactive and reactive balance, perceived balance confidence, and fear of falling. A secondary purpose was to investigate which OEP protocol most greatly improved balance among older adults.

A major factor associated with falls among older adults is a decrease in strength, balance, fear of falling, and lower levels of balance confidence.
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It is recommended that the OEP is implemented in a group setting for more than 30 minutes per session.

METHODS

A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to identify randomized controlled trials. The selection criteria were based on the following Population Intervention Comparison Outcome (PICO) framework:

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