In the cold, elderly more likely to break hip

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

USA Today‘s Kim Painter reminds folks, especially the elderly, to practice “defensive walking” during winter months, citing a “decade-long study of 66,346 hip fractures in New York City found that, at least in that city, fracture rates were highest in winter, especially on the coldest and windiest days.”X-ray of part of a spine

At the same time, Painter reports, overall fall rates don’t seem to budge to much in the winter, perhaps because folks are more likely to stay inside rather than risk icy steps and walkways. Painter says the increased fracture rates could be because of icy streets, weaker muscles as a result of winter inactivity and even lower vitamin D levels, which have been linked to weak muscles and brittle bones.

Poynter’s Al Tompkins, who first alerted us to this story, also points to CDC resources on the “silent epidemic” of hip fractures in America.

AHCJ on Aging

AHCJ resources

AHCJ’s Aging in the 21st Century workshop, held Oct. 16 and 17 in Miami, addressed the changing picture of aging Americans and key research and issues related to this growing population. Tip sheets and presentations from that workshop are available to AHCJ members, as are these related tip sheets:

Covering the Health of Local Nursing HomesSlim guide: Covering the Health of Local Nursing Homes

Check out AHCJ’s latest volume in its ongoing Slim Guide series. This reporting guide gives a head start to journalists who want to pursue stories about one of the most vulnerable populations – nursing home residents. It offers advice about Web sites, datasets, research and other resources. After reading this book, journalists can have more confidence in deciphering nursing home inspection reports, interviewing advocacy groups on all sides of an issue, locating key data, and more. The book includes story examples and ideas.

AHCJ publishes these reporting guides, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to help journalists understand and accurately report on specific subjects.

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