Osteoporosis Prevention starts in Children

Osteoporosis has a large prevalence in Western Australia. Last year approximately 66% of adults 50 years and over suffer with osteoporosis or osteopenia (poor bone health). However, rather than looking to the older adults in prevention of the disease maybe we should be targeting our children and teenagers.

Peak bone building occurs throughout childhood and adolescents with 50% of total body bone mass being achieved in this time. Exercise and physical activity is important for building critical muscle and bone strength in this period, as there is a strong correlation between increase muscle mass with increase bone mass density. Our bone density peaks during our twenties and thirties and thereafter turn to a state of decline. Evidence shows that exercise may help both build and maintain bone density at any age. Regular resistance exercises two to three times per week has also shown to increase bine density. Weight bearing, and resistance exercises help stimulate bone formation and retain calcium in the bones that are bearing the load. The force of muscles pulling against the bones stimulates bone formation. As a result, any exercises that places force on a bone will strength that bone

Studies have shown that if children do not meet the minimum physical activity guidelines they are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. To build optimal bone strength in children and adolescents moderate to vigorous daily physical activity is ideal. This includes running, jumping, skipping, weight training, stair running and other body weight exercises to continuously stress the bone and develop muscle mass. Along with improving other health markers such as body composition, cognitive functioning and obesity we may just be able to reduce their risk of osteoporosis later in life. However, bone strengthening can start at any age and is never too late. Consult you’re the Exercise Physiologist at Absolute Balance for further recommendations. If you need assistance with an exercise programme or wish to join our group senior’s classes at our clinic in Como, we can help! You can contact us on info@absolutebalance.com.au

Taylor Downes
Exercise Physiologist
B.Sc Human Movement (ESSAM)

 

Gracia‐Marco, L. (2016). Physical activity, bone mass and muscle strength in children. Acta Paediatrica, 105(10), 1127-1128. doi:10.1111/apa.13511

Osteoporosis Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee. (2017). Burden of disease. Retrieved from https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/Summary%20-%20Key%20Findings%20WA.pdf