CHICAGO — Results from two studies presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Specialty Day indicate that exercise at a young age can improve bone growth and reduce fracture risk in old age.
“Despite the limitations of our studies, we can conclude that strength training in young years should be utilized as a strategy to improve bone traits and seems a plausible strategy to decrease fragility fractures at advanced ages,” Björn E. Rosengren, MD, PhD, from Skane University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden, said in his presentation.
Using data from the Pediatric Osteoporosis Prevention study, Rosengren and colleagues followed 362 girls and 446 boys for 6 years who received 40 minutes of physical activity per day. A control sample of 780 girls and 807 boys from three Swedish schools received 60 minutes of physical activity per week, Rosengren said.
“Our school-based exercise did, after the first 6 years, result in higher gain in bone mass in both boys and girls, higher gain in skeletal size in girls and did not affect the fracture risk,” Rosengren said. Both boys and girls had higher spine bone mineral density (BMD), while girls had a higher femoral neck BMD than boys at follow-up, he said.
A second retrospective, cross-sectional study included a subsample of 46 athletes who had their BMD measured during their active career and measured against 24 people in a control group. The athletes had a 50% lower fracture risk after retirement than the control group, according to Rosengren.
“In all athletes, BMD was higher during active career and was also higher mean 29 years after retirement from sport,” Rosengren said.
Rosengren BE. Paper #18. Presented at: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Specialty Day Meeting; March 23, 2013; Chicago.
Disclosure: Rosengren has no relevant financial disclosures.