Researchers from Southhampton and Cambridge Universities in the UK have presented evidence that vigorous physical activity in young children results in stronger hip bones. The results were presented at the World Congress on Osteoporosis (IOF WCO-ECCEO10) in Florence, Italy.
More than 200 six-year olds participated in the study. Using advanced scanning technology, the researchers measured bone mass and analysed the structure of the femoral neck (hip) and thigh bone. Physical activity was assessed for seven continuous days.
The results showed that there was a relationship between time spent in vigorous activity and strength of the femoral neck, both in terms of shape and volumetric mineral density. This was independent of other factors such as diet, lifestyle and physical size.
This supports the argument that increasing physical activity in childhood is likely to improve childhood skeletal bone development, and is thus a potentially important public health strategy towards prevention of osteoporosis in later life.