Activity Each Day Keeps Fractures at Bay

Exercise increases bone density in children without chance for fractures

(RxWiki News) It's been debated whether to spread exercise out over the course of the week or spend the same time exercising over fewer days. Children's bone development could benefit from the former.

A study found that children who spent 40 minutes a day doing physical activity developed a higher bone density and larger leg bones than children who exercised once a week for 60 minutes.

In addition, researchers found that daily exercise did not increase the children's chances of getting fractures compared to the weekly exercise.

According to the researchers, daily exercise can benefit children in a number of ways over an extended period of time. However, these findings have yet to be peer reviewed.

"Get active for at least 30 minutes a day!"

Researchers led by Bjorn Rosengren, MD, PhD, of Skane University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden, investigated whether daily physical activity lowered children's chances of getting fractures.

The study included 2,395 Swedish children who were between 7 and 9 years old at the start of the study.

Half the children had 40 minutes of physical activity each day. The rest had 60 minutes of physical activity over the whole week, which is standard in Sweden.

Each year, researchers measured children's skeletal development and focused specifically on their bone mineral density and the size of the femoral neck in the top part of the leg bone.

Researchers also tracked how many fractures the children had over the course of the study.

Researchers found that, by the end of the six-year period, children who exercised for 40 minutes a day developed a higher bone density compared to the other group.

In addition, girls in the 40-minute exercise group had a higher bone density in the femoral neck than girls in the second group.

The risk for fractures was about the same for both groups (with a rate ratio of 1.09). Children who had daily exercise had 20.5 fractures per 1,000 person-years, compared to 18.8 fractures in the weekly exercise group.

"Increased activity in the younger ages helped induce higher bone mass and improve skeletal size in girls without increasing the fracture risk," Dr. Rosengren said in a press release. 

"Our study highlights yet another reason why kids need to get regular daily exercise to improve their health both now and in the future."

The study was presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in Chicago. The study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Review Date: 
March 22, 2013