Prepubertal Exercise Prevents Osteoporosis

A recent study from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver shows that a regular vigorous exercise program for prepubertal girls can help to prevent osteoporosis when they are older.

A woman's bones are strongest when she is 20 years of age. Each year after that, her bones become progressively weaker. If she lives long enough, she has a 100 percent chance of suffering from osteoporosis. If she breaks her hip from osteoporosis, she has a 20 percent chance of dying from complications within a year. The bigger and stronger her bones at age 20, the less likely she is to develop osteoporosis later on. This study shows that nine-year- old girls who participated in step aerobics twice a week for nine months had bigger and stronger bones than their non-exercising peers. That means that strengthening bones before puberty will help to prevent osteoporosis when a woman is older.

High-impact exercise and bones of growing girls: A 9-month controlled trial. A Heinonen, H Sievanen, P Kannus, P Oja, M Pasanen, I Vuori. Osteoporosis International, 2000, Vol 11, Iss 12, pp 1010-1017. Address: Heinonen A, Univ British Columbia, Sch Human Kinet, 210 War Mem Gym, 6081 Univ Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, CANADA

Checked 8/9/08

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