Sports during adolescence, not calcium, key to bone health

July 11, 2000 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Sports Nutrition and Exercise

Sports during adolescence, not calcium, key to bone health

A new study from Penn State University suggests that adult bone density is determined more by the exercise a teenager engages in than by calcium intake.

The researchers focused on the contribution of teenage calcium intake and teenage physical activity to the total body bone mineral gain and peak hip bone mineral density (peak hip bone density is the best-known predictor of hip fracture).

A total of 81 girls participated in the study. Over the course of six years, no relationship was seen between calcium intakes during the ages of 12 to 16 years and either total body bone mineral gain or hip bone mineral density at age 18. However, hip bone mineral density was significantly related to sports-exercise scores. Hip bone mineral density was not related to the intensity of the exercise, but the fact that exercise was done on a daily or nearly daily basis.

This is not the first study to show the importance of regular exercise in building peak bone mass, rather it is a reconfirmation of an important strategy in the prevention of osteoporosis.

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