Physical activity augments bone mineral accrual in young children: The Iowa Bone Development Study

Kathleen F. Janz, Julie M. Gilmore, Trudy L. Burns, Steven M. Levy, James C. Torner, Marcia C. Willing, Teresa A. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Objectives: This 3-year follow-up study examined associations between physical activity and bone mineral content (BMC) and whether physical activity augments BMC accrual. Study design: Participants were 370 children (mean age baseline 5.3 years, follow-up 8.6 years). Physical activity was measured using 4-day accelerometry. BMC was measured using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Results: After adjustment for baseline BMC, age, and body size, mean physical activity predicted follow-up BMC at the hip, trochanter, spine, and whole body in boys and at the trochanter and whole body in girls. The variability in BMC explained by physical activity was modest (1% to 2%). However, based on a general linear model with adjustment for baseline BMC and body size, children who maintained high levels of physical activity accrued, on average, 14% more trochanteric BMC and 5% more whole-body BMC relative to peers maintaining low levels of physical activity. Conclusions: This study suggests that maintaining high levels of everyday physical activity contributes to increases in BMC in young children, particularly at the trochanter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-799
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


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