Researchers at Wright State University School of Medicine in Ohio, U.S.A., have found that leisure activity has a significant impact on the rate of bone mass increase in both girls and boys. Lead author Miryoung Lee and colleague followed a group of 99 children, aged eight to 18, to determine how changes in physical activity affects their bone mineral density, a measure of bone strength. For both sexes, the rate of bone accumulation was found to be higher with increasing leisure activity level. "The amount of bone built during adolescence and early adulthood is one of the most important factors related to the risk of developing osteoporosis in later years," said Lee.

Researchers from Finland also emphasised how important it is to not only start but maintain regular exercise. Marjo Lehtonen-Veromaa and colleagues at Turku University Central Hospital, found that over a period of four years, girls who stopped exercising had a much lower increase in bone content than those who maintained their physical activity. The researchers also measured the bone mineral content of the thigh bone and lumbar spine. They found that the third of the girls who exercised most had the highest increase in thigh bone mineral content over the seven years (24 percent increase). "It is of great importance to continue a physically active way of living because it seems to be deleterious for bone health if the magnitude of physical activity descends deeply,” said Lehtonen-Veromaa.

Fernando Siqueira and colleagues from the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, reported that exercise in childhood and adolescence can reduce the risk for late life osteoporosis. Siqueira and colleagues questioned over 1,000 individuals aged 50 and over in southern Brazil and matched their osteoporosis history with their history of physical activity between ages ten and 19. They found that those volunteers who were active in adolescence had a 45 percent lower risk for osteoporosis.; Source: International Osteoporosis Foundation