Does the Better Bones and Balance Program Help Prevent Bone Loss in the Hip and Spine?
Does Better Bones and Balance™ (BBB)—a community-based exercise program that reduces fall and fracture risk and bone loss in the hip in postmenopausal women—have a positive impact on bone health in the spine and hip in a community setting?
Recently, US researchers evaluated just that question.
Their study appeared online in October 2011 in the article “The influence of participation in Better Bones and Balance™ on skeletal health: evaluation of a community-based exercise program to reduce fall and fracture risk.” The article will soon be published in Osteoporosis International.
Participants in this study included women who were recruited from BBB classes (n=69) and compared to control subjects who were relatively inactive or sedentary (n=46). The total sample age of these women was 69 + 7.7 years old.
For this study:
- bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip and spine was measured using DXA.
- hip bone structure (cross-sectional area, cross-sectional moment of inertia) at the narrow neck and intertrochanter were derived using hip structural analysis software.
- questionnaires were used to determine patients’ diet, physical activity, and health history.
Group differences in bone outcomes were determined using analysis of co-variance, controlling for age and body mass.
What Did Researchers Find about BBB for Bone Health in the Spine and Hip?
Control subjects were heavier and had greater total body BMD compared to BBB participants (p<0.05), but there were no differences between the groups in hip or spine BMD or bone structural outcomes (p>0.05).
This was noted despite BBB participants reporting more frequent previous diagnoses of—or risk factors for—osteoporosis compared to control subjects.
Researchers also found that both control subjects and BBB participants had higher than average T-scores in the hip (p<0.05) when compared to an age-matched cohort from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
At the end of the study, researchers determined that these data suggest that participation in BBB may not result in direct bone health benefits. However, long-term participation in Better Bones and Balance may be linked to other positive outcomes.