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Research translates into successful community practice to improve elder health
Date:8/11/2008

It is not easy to translate research into practice, and a therapy that works well in the sterile research lab is not always successful in the real world. Researchers across the country are driven not only to discover new treatments but also to make sure their treatments are designed to be used successfully in a variety of community settings.

In the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health, Oregon Research Institute (ORI) senior scientist Fuzhong Li, Ph.D., describes how senior community centers in Lane County, Oregon successfully adopted an evidence-based Tai Chi program to prevent falls among older adults. Based on this success, the Oregon Department of Human Services, in partnership with 4 counties in Oregon, has now adopted the Tai Chi program as part of its efforts to disseminate evidence-based interventions to promote physical activity and reduce falls among community-living older adults.

"Our results are very important from a public health perspective," says Li. "The U.S. population is aging rapidly and falls are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among adults age 65 and older. Falls are associated with an enormous burden to individuals, society, and to the health care system. Tai Chi, as a proven fall intervention, may have much to offer in terms of reducing the public health burden of falls and the benefits accrued for prevention."

The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine how well the exercise program translated into positive results when taught in community centers by lay people. There is wide recognition within public health that proven programs must be translated, implemented and adopted to have widespread effects. In previously-funded research, the Tai Chi program developed by Li and his team showed positive results in improving balance and reducing falls among the elderly.

Twice-weekly 1-hour classes were held in local senior center
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Contact: Kathryn Madden
kathryn@ori.org
Oregon Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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