Physical Activity at Growth Induce Bone Mass Benefits Into Adulthood: A 15-Year Prospective Controlled Study

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Daily school physical activity (PA) improves musculoskeletal traits. Whether or not benefits remain in adulthood is debated. We included in this study 131 children that took part in an intervention with 40 minutes of PA per school day (200 minutes per week) from age 6 to 9 years (grade one) to age 14 to 16 years (grade nine), whereas 78 children continued with national recommended school physical education of 60 minutes per week. Measurements were done with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (bone mineral content [BMC], bone mineral density [BMD], and bone area), and a computerized knee dynamometer (peak torque muscle strength) at study start, at the end of the intervention, and 7 years after the intervention. Group differences from study start and end of the intervention to 7 years thereafter were estimated by analyses of covariance (adjusted for sex and follow-up time). Musculoskeletal gains from study start to 7 years after termination of the intervention were higher in the intervention group (total body less head BMC +182.5 g [95% confidence interval {CI}, 55.1–309.9] and BMD +0.03 g/cm2 [95% CI, 0.003–0.05], femoral neck area + 0.2 cm2 [95% CI, 0.1–0.4], and knee flexion peak torque muscle strength at 60 degrees per second +9.2 Nm [95% CI, 2.9–15.5]). There was no attenuation during the 7 years that followed termination of the intervention (all group comparisons p > 0.05). Benefits in musculoskeletal gains remain 7 years after termination of a daily school-based PA program, without attenuation after termination of the program. Daily school PA may counteract low bone mass and inferior muscle strength in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJBMR Plus
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Orthopedics

Free keywords

  • DXA


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