Being active during early years may help lower fracture risks in old age

Washington: Exercise interventions in childhood may be associated with lower fracture risks as people age, due to the increases in peak bone mass that occurs in growing children who perform regular physical activity, a new study has concluded.

The study lead author, Bjorn Rosengren, MD, PhD of Skane University Hospital, Malmo, Sweden and his and his colleagues conducted a population-based controlled exercise intervention for six years in children age 7-9 years in Malmo, Sweden.

In the intervention group of 362 girls and 446 boys received 40 minutes of daily physical education at school, while the control group of 780 girls and 807 boys received 60 minutes of physical education per week.

Researchers registered incident fractures in all participants and followed skeletal development annually.

During the time of the study there were 72 fractures in the intervention group and 143 in the control group resulting in similar fracture risks.

The research found that the increase in spine bone mineral density was higher in both the boys and girls in the intervention group.

During this same time, researchers performed a retrospective cross-sectional study of 709 former male athletes with a mean age of 69 years and 1,368 matched controls with a mean age of 70 years to determine how many had suffered fractures and rates of bone density loss.

Within the former athletes group, bone mass density dropped only minimally from plus 1.0 to plus 0.7 standard deviations compared to the control group.

Rosengren said that increased activity in the younger ages helped induce higher bone mass and improve skeletal size in girls without increasing the fracture risk.