HumanInsight Effect of eHealth-delivered exercise programmes on balance in people aged 65 years and over living in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
BMJ Open. 2022 Jun 10;12(6):e051377. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051377.
INTRODUCTION: Exercise that challenges balance is proven to prevent falls in community-dwelling older people, yet widespread implementation and uptake of effective programmes is low. This systematic review and meta-analysis synthesised the evidence and evaluated the effect of eHealth-delivered exercise programmes compared with control on balance in community-dwelling people aged ≥65 years.
METHODS: Nine databases including MEDLINE, CINAHL and Embase, were searched from inception to January 2022 to identify randomised controlled trials evaluating eHealth-delivered exercise programmes for community-dwelling people aged ≥65 years, published in English that included a balance outcome. Primary outcomes were static and dynamic balance. Secondary outcomes included fall risk and fear of falling. We calculated standardised mean differences (SMDs, Hedges' g) with 95% CIs from random effects meta-analyses.
RESULTS: We identified 14 eligible studies that included 1180 participants. Methodological quality ranged from 3 to 8 (mean, 5). The pooled effect indicated that eHealth-delivered exercise programmes have a medium significant effect on static balance (11 studies; SMD=0.62, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.72) with very low-quality evidence. There was small statistically significant effect on dynamic balance (14 studies; SMD=0.42, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.73) with very low-quality evidence, and fall risk (5 studies; SMD=0.32, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.64) with moderate-quality evidence. No significant effect of eHealth programmes on fear of falling was found (four studies; SMD=0.10, 95% CI -0.05 to 0.24; high-quality evidence).
CONCLUSION: This review provides preliminary evidence that eHealth-delivered exercise programmes improved balance and reduced fall risk in people aged ≥65 years. There is still uncertainty regarding the effect of eHealth delivered exercise programmes on fear of falling.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42018115098.
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