This study sought to determine whether a single exercise program affects fracture risk (bone mineral density [BMD] and falls), coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors, and health care costs in community-dwelling elderly women. 246 women were randomly assigned to an 18-month exercise program (exercise group) or a wellness program (control group). The exercise group performed a multipurpose exercise program with special emphasis on exercise intensity; the controls focused on well-being with a low-intensity, low-frequency program. The main outcome measures were BMD, the number of falls, the Framingham-based 10-year CHD risk, and direct health care costs. For the 227 women who completed the 18-month study, significant exercise effects were observed for BMD of the lumbar spine, femoral neck, and fall rate per person during 18 months. The 10-year CHD risk was significantly affected in both subgroups, with no significant difference between the groups. The direct health care costs per participant during the 18-month intervention showed nonsignificant differences between the groups.
Compared with a general wellness program, our 18-month exercise program significantly improved BMD and fall risk, but not predicted CHD risk, in elderly women.
Kemmler W, von Stengel S, Engelke K, et al. Exercise Effects on Bone Mineral Density, Falls, Coronary Risk Factors, and Health Care Costs in Older Women: The Randomized Controlled Senior Fitness and Prevention (SEFIP) Study. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jan 25;170(2):179-85.