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Reduced physical activity corresponds with greater bone loss at the trabecular than the cortical bone sites in men
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine.
Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute (Solna), Stockholm, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine.
2009 (English)In: Bone, ISSN 8756-3282, E-ISSN 1873-2763, Vol. 45, no 6, 1073-1078 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research has been inconclusive as to whether high peak bone mineral density (BMD, g/cm(2)) resulting from previous physical activity is retained with reduced activity later in life. The aim of this 12-year longitudinal study was to investigate the association between BMD loss and reduced physical activity (h/wk) at trabecular and cortical bone sites in men. Three groups with a mean age of 17 years at baseline were investigated: i) 51 athletes who discontinued their active careers during the follow-up period (former athletes), ii) 16 athletes who were active throughout the follow-up period (active athletes), and iii) 25 controls. BMD loss at the hip, spine, and pelvis (mainly trabecular bone) was compared to BMD loss at femur, humerus, and legs (mainly cortical bone) during a 12-year follow-up period. Across the total follow-up period in the total cohort, reduced physical activity was more strongly associated with changes at trabecular BMD sites, i.e. hip, spine, and pelvis (B=0.008-0.005 g/cm(2) per weekly hour physical activity (h), p<0.001), than at cortical bone sites, i.e. humerus, legs (B=0.002-0.003 g/cm(2)/h, p<0.05), and femur (p>0.05). At the final follow-up, former athletes showed higher BMD than controls only at the cortical bone sites of the humerus, legs, and femur (difference 0.05-0.10 g/cm(2), p<0.05). In conclusion, this study indicates that predominantly trabecular bone is lost with reduced physical activity levels in young men. Benefits were still evident at the more cortical sites eight years after the discontinuation of an active sports career.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2009. Vol. 45, no 6, 1073-1078 p.
National Category
Geriatrics Sport and Fitness Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26915DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2009.07.007PubMedID: 19631302OAI: diva2:274806
Available from: 2009-11-02 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2014-11-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Physical activity, bone gain and sustainment of peak bone mass
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Physical activity, bone gain and sustainment of peak bone mass
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Weak and osteoporotic bones are an increasing cause of mortality and painful physical impairment among the elderly, especially in the Western world. Bone mineral density (BMD, g/cm2) accrual during childhood and adolescence is thought to influence an individual’s risk of osteoporosis and the related fractures.

A main aim of this thesis is to investigate the effects that various types of weight-bearing physical activity have on bone accretion in young males during their active sports careers and to study the effects that detraining has on BMD. The results suggest that bone is sensitive to loading after puberty in males, and important gains in BMD stemming from physical activity were observed during the 12-year follow-up period (papers I-III). These gains seem to be site-specific and related to the type and amount of physical activity in which individuals participate (papers I-III). For example, badminton, a sport that is characterized by jumps and rapid versatile moments in multiple directions was associated with greater gains in BMD than ice hockey was. In addition, our results indicate that with reduced training, exercise-induced bone benefits decline, predominantly at trabecular sites (paper II). In contrast, high bone density attained from previous physical loading was partially preserved at cortical bone sites after about eight years of reduced activity (papers I-II). In study IV, the associations between self-perceived health, BMD, and other lifestyle factors were studied in a well-defined group of women and men of varying ages. We found that self-perceived health was related to several lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, which were also related to BMD at the femoral neck.

In summary, BMD in young males seem to be especially sensitive to activities associated with supposed high strains in unusual directions at specific bone sites. A high bone density stemming from previous weight-bearing physical activity is largely lost at trabecular bone sites with reduced physical activity levels. Finally, self-perceived health seems to be associated with several lifestyle factors that are also associated with BMD at the femoral neck.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university, 2009. 87 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1282
BMD, physical activity, men, athletes, trabecular bone, cortical bone, self-perceived health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26928 (URN)978-91-7264-831-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-11-27, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, 90187, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-11-13 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2010-01-18Bibliographically approved

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