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Table 1 Criteria of methodological quality

From: Follow-up efficacy of physical exercise interventions on fall incidence and fall risk in healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Internal validity Scoring
 1. Study design A positive point was assigned if the following aspects were considered:
1 Number of falls as an outcome measure
2 Number of fallers as an outcome measure
3 Healthy and not frail elderly
4 Follow-up period ≥ 6 months
5 Control group
 2. Methods A positive point was assigned if the following aspects were considered:
  2.1 Quantification of fall incidence A Criteria for the definition of a fall were provided and applied
B Monthly returned fall diaries (i.e., fall calendar)
C Reminder calls by the examiners to avoid forgetting reporting a fall [118,119,120]
D Objective fall rate measurement as using sensor-based instruments (inertial sensors for daily life detection of falls) [121,122,123,124]
  2.2 Intervention A Physical form of exercise intervention
B Group training under therapist supervision
C Exercise material guidance for home training (only relevant for home training)
D Controlling home visits by therapists for home training (only relevant for home training)
E Duration of the intervention ≥ 4 weeks
F At least two times per week [127, 128]
G Session duration ≥ 15 min [127, 128]
H Reporting compliance to the training (> 80%)
 3. Cofactors A positive point was assigned if the following aspects regarding the participants were considered:
A Fall history in the previous 6 months or 1 year
B Activity profile during follow-up
C Influence of health status (diseases, medications)
D Influence of cognitive ability
Statistical validity Scoring
 4. Statistical tests A positive point was assigned if appropriate statistical tests were used
 5. Power analysis A positive point was assigned if the sample size was calculated based on an a priori power analysis
External validity Scoring
 6. Eligibility of sample and variables A positive point was assigned if the intervention included as follows:
1 A representative sample
2 Appropriate report of the outcome variables
 7. Description of the experimental protocol A positive point was assigned if the following criteria were reported as follows:
1 Type of physical exercise intervention
2 Exercise descriptions and loading characteristics (e.g., intensity)
3 Intervention duration in weeks, training days per week, and session duration
 8. Description of the participant sample A positive point was assigned if the following criteria were reported as follows:
A Age
B Sex
C Body height
D Body mass
E Activity level
F Health status (medication)
G Cognitive status
H Fall history
  1. Numbers indicate full-point items while letters indicate subcategories of a one full-point item
  2. Note that the internal validity increases with using better methods for quantification of fall incidence and implementation of intervention