Medicine and science in sports and exercise vol:33 issue:11 pages:1868-1875
PURPOSE: The present population study is conducted to examine the extent to which lifetime physical activity and lifestyle parameters contribute to bone mass. METHODS: The design of the project is a 27-yr prospective follow-up study. Subjects are 126 males gathered from the Leuven Longitudinal Study on Lifestyle, Physical Fitness and Health, and aged 13 yr at the onset of the study and 40 at the end of the follow-up. Physical activity and lifestyle parameters are obtained with questionnaires. Bone mass is measured by means of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). RESULTS: Results from correlation and regression analyses show that the body mass index (BMI) is the most important parameter in relation to cortical and trabecular bone mass at every examination period. Longitudinally, static arm strength, running speed, and upper muscular endurance contribute significantly to the prediction of adult bone mass. The parameter "change in motor fitness" between 18 and 13 yr old was used to control for hereditary influences. The score for static arm strength and trunk muscle strength demonstrates a significant correlation with adult total bone mineral content (BMC) and lumbar bone mineral density (BMD), respectively. At the age of 40, the Baecke sports index is almost equally important as BMI in explaining the variance in BMD, and static arm strength is the most important parameter (after BMI) for BMC. CONCLUSION: Lifetime physical activity, physical fitness, and BMI all contribute to adult bone mass. The clinical relevance of these findings is emphasized by the fact that the observed patterns of physical activity and motor fitness pertain to customary lifestyle and are thus feasible targets.