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TEENS AND WEIGHT-BEARING

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by Dale Mazer, M.D., M.P.H.

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To prevent osteoporosis, most specialists recommend a diet high in calcium and a lifestyle high in weight-bearing exercise. A new study shows that even adolescents can get in on the weight-bearing action. Researchers from Louisiana State University performed bone mineral density tests on 62 girls aged between 8 and 17 years. All the girls led very active lifestyles, practicing either weight-lifting, tennis or swimming at least five hours per week, 10 months per year, for at least one year. The results of the study were announced in February at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The scientists found that the girls participating in the weight-bearing activities (weight-lifting and tennis) had higher density bones, as high as that found in healthy adults. Swimmers had lower bone density typical of adolescents. The researchers believe that other weight-bearing exercises, such as stair climbing, soccer, jogging, skating and step aerobics, also help to build bone density.

 


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