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Kids' Sport Participation Tied to Higher Bone Mass in Young Adults

Participation in organized sport during childhood, teen years associated with bone mass at age 20

young soccer players

TUESDAY, Oct. 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are consistent sport participators have greater bone mineral content (BMC) at age 20 years, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Joanne A. McVeigh, Ph.D., from Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study involving 984 offspring of a pregnancy cohort. Parents recorded their children's participation in organized sport at ages 5, 8, 10, 14, and 17 years. In each sex, three trajectory classes were identified: consistent sport participators, dropouts, and non-participators (48, 34, and 18 percent, respectively) among females and consistent sport participators, dropouts, and sport joiners (55, 37, and 8 percent, respectively) among males.

The researchers found that after adjustment for covariates measured at age 20 years, males who were consistent sport participators had significantly greater whole-body and leg BMC at age 20 than those who dropped out of sport; males who joined sports had significantly greater leg BMC than those who dropped out of sport. Compared with those who dropped out, females who were consistent sport participators had significantly greater leg BMC.

"Targeted messages to young males and females that discourage dropping out of sport and encourage joining sport (even in adolescence) may be important as the osteogenic stimuli of organized sports participation over critical development periods is associated with a higher bone mass in young adults," the authors write.

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