[Purpose] The purpose of this research was to measure the functional reach (FR) value, as an index of standing balance ability, and to clarify its distribution among community dwelling elderly persons as well as its relationship with fall related factors, such as number of falls in the previous 1 year, history of fracture, and fear of falling. [Subjects] The subjects were 489 persons (226 males, 263 females) over the age of 65 living in K town, Gunma Prefecture, who gave their written consent at the time of their basic health check-up. [Methods] Using a reach measuring apparatus, we performed the FR test, and information regarding fall related factors was gathered by questionnaire. [Results] FR declined in both females and males with advancing age, and at 70 years of age, it had declined significantly in females, as compared to males. Regarding the relationship between FR and the number of falls, a significant decrease in FR was seen among females with 3 or more falls in the past 1 year in a comparison with those with no falls. However, no significant relationship was found between fracture history and fear of falling. [Conclusion] The correlation found between FR values and past number of falls suggests the possibility that FR can be used effectively in local public health programs aiming at fall prevention.
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