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Researchers to young women: Be careful on stairs

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Young women are more likely than their male counterparts to engage in risky behaviors while descending stairs – increasing their risk of injury, results of a recent study show.

A team led by researchers from Purdue University recorded and analyzed the behavior of 2,400 young adults (1,470 men and 930 women) going down two indoor staircases – one with two steps and the other with 17.

The women were more likely to be carrying something; engaging in conversation; and wearing sandals, flip-flops or heels – considered less safe footwear choices – on both sets of staircases. They were less likely to use the handrail on the longer staircase.

Other risky behaviors included not watching where they were going, using an electronic device, keeping hands in pockets and skipping steps.

All of these observed behaviors, the researchers note, could be related to high injury rates of stair-related falls among young adults, particularly young women.

“Future studies should also examine physiological differences that may lead to greater injury risk, such as differences in strength and reaction time,” the researchers write.

The study was published online in the journal PLOS One.

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