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Physical Activity in Youth Lowers Fracture Risks Later in Life

Physical Activity in Youth Lowers Fracture Risks Later in Life
School-age children who get regular daily exercise improve their health – both now and in the future. Bjorn Rosengren, from Skane University Hospital (Sweden), and colleagues conducted a population-based controlled exercise intervention for six years in children ages 7 to 9 years in Malmo, Sweden. In the intervention group, 362 girls and 446 boys received 40 minutes of daily physical education at school. 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 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 +1.0 to +0.7 standard deviations compared to the control group. The study investigators submit that: “As increased exercise improves bone mass and in girls bone size without affecting fracture risk, society ought to encourage exercise during growth.”

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