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Watch your step, ladies

June 18, 2009

It seems that lately, some of the most powerful women in the world are having a bad case of the falls. 

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, on crutches after a fall

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, on crutches after a fall

First, SCotUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor fell on her way to the airport, fracturing her ankle. Then, last week, former Britain PM Margaret Thatcher fell and broke her arm.  She’s expected to have surgery to repair the damage sometime this week.  And just yesterday, SoS Hillary Clinton fell on her way to the White House and fractured her elbow.

Is it some conspiracy to take out our fearless female leaders?  Not exactly. 

As we age, falls become more common.  In fact, according to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and disabilities among adults 65 and over.  For women, bone density also decreases with age, so the risk of breaking or fracturing a bone rises significantly. 

Is this Mother Nature’s way of saying women past a certain age shouldn’t be in such physically demanding jobs?  Not at all, says Roberta Newton, a professor of physical therapy at Temple’s College of Health Professions.  If anything, the opposite is true.

“Fifty percent of older adults think that if they decrease their physical activity level, they will have less chance of falling. But, in reality, the exact opposite is true – staying physically active as you age is critical in helping prevent falls.”

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