Exercise counters negative bone effects of sedentariness in girls

Published on November 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM · No Comments

By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Participation in weight-bearing exercise such as running or football significantly counteracts the effects of sedentary behaviors in adolescent girls, say researchers.

They add that boys who used the internet the most for recreational purposes and girls who spent the most time studying had the lowest total and femoral neck bone mineral content (BMC), respectively.

Writing in BMC Public Health, Luis Gracia-Marco (University of Exeter, UK) and colleagues report results from a cross sectional study of 359 Spanish adolescents aged 12.5-17.5 years who were enrolled in the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross Sectional Study (HELENA-CSS).

They found that there was a significant negative correlation between whole body BMC and use of the internet for nonstudy purposes in boys and between femoral neck BMC and time spent studying in girls.

"More research is needed to establish exactly why there are differences between the two genders, and why these types of activity are particularly damaging to teenage boys and girls, but we can speculate that it is linked to how long they remain in the same position," said Gracia-Marco in a press statement.

Girls who spent 3 hours or more per week participating in high-intensity, weight-bearing sports such as running, netball, basketball, or football were significantly less likely to have a femoral BMC at least 1 standard deviation below the mean than those who did not, regardless of whether they studied for more than or less than 2 hours per day.

"It is already well-known that an inactive lifestyle has implications for young people, such as obesity and heart diseases. Combined with that, our findings emphasize the need for exercise, and we hope it will give some focus for young people and their parents to ward off any health problems later in life," commented Gracia-Marco.

"Although development of osteoporosis is particularly linked to adolescence, this may also have implications for other groups of people, such as office workers," he concluded.

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