Daily In-School Exercise Boosts Children's Bone Mass

Possible prevention strategy for osteoporosis

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A regular school-based exercise program significantly increases schoolchildren's bone mass, according to data from the Pediatric Osteoporosis Prevention Study released at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Nashville, Tenn.

Christian Linden, M.D., of Malmo University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden, and colleagues studied the effect of a daily exercise program on 121 Swedish elementary schoolchildren. Some of the children participated in 40 minutes of exercise every school day for four years, while a control group program included 60 to 90 minutes of exercise per week.

Boys who exercised daily had a significantly greater annual increase in bone mass in the spine than those in the control group. Girls who exercised daily had a significantly greater increase in bone mass in both the spine and femur compared with controls.

"A school-based exercise program within the general curriculum during the first four school years seems to increase the accrual of bone mass and bone size," the authors write. The program, they note, could also be used "as a prevention strategy for osteoporosis."


Physician's Briefing