Exercise at a Young Age May Prevent Later Osteoporosis
Though much research about osteoporosis focuses on older women, a recent study set out to understand the ways that interventions such as exercise and the use of calcium supplements can help protect the bones of younger women. The researchers argue that low bone mass is a major concern for younger women due to inadequate calcium intake and sedentary lifestyles.
The study, led by researchers at the Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy at Guru Nanak Dev University in India, is titled, “Effect of exercise program and calcium supplements on low bone mass among young Indian women—a comparative study.” It was published in September 2012 in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine.
The study included data on the distal radius SOS T-scores for 104 college-aged women (mean age of 22.3). Sixty-two of the women with low bone mass were included in a 3-month study (though only 60 completed the study). These women were split into 3 groups: an exercise group (n = 21), a group that took calcium supplements (n = 21), and a control group (n = 20). The women’s distal radius T-scores and midshaft tibia scores were taken both before and after the interventions.
The results showed that approximately 60% of the 104 participants had low bone mass. After the 3 month interventions, the women in the exercise group showed significant improvement in their distal radius SOS T-scores and midshaft tibia scores, compared to the other 2 groups. The calcium-supplement group also showed improvements compared to the control group.
The researchers conclude that their findings show that young women who exercised had the highest improvements in their bone mass, when compared with the women in the calcium-supplement and control groups. The study authors argue that exercise is an important lifestyle habit for younger women who wish to reduce their risk of osteoporosis and other conditions in the future.