To Your Health
November, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 11)
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Plant the Seeds for a Lifetime of Bone Health

By Editorial Staff

Want to help convince your kids why they should be exercising every day, rather than gluing themselves to the couch or bed for endless hours of sedentary screen time? How about better bone health when they get older. Research suggests kids who participate in moderate- to high-intensity exercise as young as age 12 have a reduced risk of developed osteoporosis as adults.

Researchers evaluated accelerometer-based data from  more than 2,500 kids at four age points: three during adolescence and one during adulthood. (Accelerometers measure movement whenever they are worn by the user.) Average movement (steps) per minute and total minutes per day were used to determine how much activity children were engaging in, and at what intensity level (light vs. moderate vs. vigorous).

exercise - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise, compared to light exercise, during the adolescent years was associated with greater hip bone mineral density (BMD) at age 25. Bone density in the hip is a particularly important marker when it comes to osteoporosis / bone strength because it is a common fracture site in osteoporosis sufferers, and tremendous functional limitations / disability can occur if a fracture occurs.

Researchers also found that engaging in exercise at a younger, rather than and older age reaped greater benefits in terms of bone health; and that performing more light-intensity exercise did not impact bone BMD. The researchers present their findings in the latest issue of JAMA Network Open.