The Otago exercise programme: do strength and balance improve?
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of participation in the Otago Exercise Programme (OEP) on strength and balance. The change in a number of balance and strength measures were compared between a group of community dwelling women over the age of 80 years participating in the OEP and a control group matched by gender and age.Study design: A cohort study of two independent groups.Participants: Nineteen women over the age of 80 years who were community dwelling and participating in the OEP and 18 age matched community dwelling women who continued with their normal activities of daily living.Main outcome measures: Participants' strength and balance was measured using the timed up and go test, the step test, the 30 second chair stand test and gait velocity. Participants' fear of falling was measured with the Modified Falls Efficacy Scale and falls were monitored using a falls diary.Results: There were no statistically significant improvements in strength and balance in the OEP group and no statistically significant differences between the OEP and control group, after participating in the OEP for 6 months. The only statistically significant change in the OEP group was a slowing of gait velocity, all other outcome measures remained unchanged for both the OEP group and the control group.Conclusions: There were no statistically significant improvements in strength and balance after participating in the OEP. These results are consistent with those of the original Otago trial and the subsequent meta-analysis of all the Otago trials. The results from this study need to be interpreted with caution, as due to the small sample size the study was underpowered. The critical components of the OEP remain unknown.