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Adolescent bone mass linked to muscle strength: case for early exercise.

SNOWMASS, COLO. -- Higher bone mineral density in adolescence is associated with greater muscle strength, a longitudinal cohort investigation has shown.

Such results suggest that muscle-strengthening exercises initiated during the teenage years could play a role in achieving peak bone mass, according to Claire McGartland, Ph.D.

An evaluation of 1,335 children aged 12-15 years showed isometric grip strength to be a strong independent predictor of bone mineral density (BMD) at related and unrelated skeletal sites in both girls and boys, Dr. McGartland reported at an international conference on pediatric rheumatology sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Investigators assessed the children's grip strength using a handheld dynamometer. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry was used to measure BMD.

Investigators also assessed each participant's diet to evaluate calcium intake as a potential confounding variable.

The 591 boys and 744 girls in the study were a representative sample of adolescents enrolled in the Northern Ireland Young Hearts Project, a University of Ulster research program studying heart disease risk as well as factors that affect bone mass and muscle strength, said Dr. McGartland of Queens University Belfast.

The study results showed a significant association between grip strength and BMD at the non-dominant forearm and dominant heel in both boys and girls.

Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to adjust for the potential confounding influence of physical and lifestyle factors, including weight, height, age, pubertal status, activity score, calcium intake, alcohol intake, and smoking.

The muscle-strengthening exercises to improve peak bone mass probably "would need to be initiated during adolescence to he most effective, because bone growth tempers after that," said Dr. McGartland.

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Title Annotation:Clinical Rounds
Author:Mahoney, Diane
Publication:Pediatric News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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