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The University of Southampton

Exercise during childhood important for healthy bones

Published: 27 November 2007

Recent research reveals seeds for strong bones are sown in early years.

Research published today (27 November 2007) at the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) Conference in Edinburgh - the leading conference on osteoporosis in the UK - has revealed a link between physical activity in young children and strong bones.

The study which was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Southampton compared the average amount of physical activity of 200 four-year-olds with the strength of their bones and found that the children who were more physically active had stronger skeletons.

Dr Nick Harvey, Clinical Lecturer at the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre at the University of Southampton, who managed the project said: "Evidence suggests that it is likely that the better your bones are when you are young, the better they will be when you are older, and so more physical activity as a child could potentially mean stronger bones in old age."

Sarah Leyland, NOS Spokesperson comments: "The decline in physical activity in children over the last decade is worrying and this piece of research shows that it could have a detrimental effect on the nation's bone health.

"Parents should encourage their children to choose the active option whenever possible. Walking short distances instead of sitting in the buggy and playing in the garden or park instead of watching TV are just a couple of ideas to help small children to become more active."

NOS President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, recently spoke of the importance of establishing bone health at an early age. During her acceptance speech at the Royal Society last month when The Duchess was presented with The Kohn Award, HRH called on young people to be better educated about the 'mega importance' of regular exercise to maintain healthy bones.

The NOS Conference takes place in Edinburgh from 25th to 28th November and brings together the latest developments in research into osteoporosis.

Related Staff Member

Notes for editors

  1. "Childhood physical activity is positively associated with contemporary bone mass at 4 years," was presented on Tuesday 27th November 2007 at the NOS Conference, Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
  2. The National Osteoporosis Society is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
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