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Is vigorous-intensity physical activity required for improving bone mass in adolescence? Findings from a Brazilian birth cohort.

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Bielemann, RM 
Ramires, VV 
Gonçalves, H 
Assunção, MCF 


UNLABELLED: The association between moderate and vigorous physical activity throughout adolescence and areal bone density (aBMD) at 18 years of age was evaluated. Vigorous-intensity physical activity at 11, 15, and 18 years was associated with aBMD in early adulthood, especially in boys. Cross-sectional analyses showed a positive association between moderate physical activity and aBMD. INTRODUCTION: To evaluate independent associations of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MPA, VPA) across adolescence with areal bone mineral density (aBMD). METHODS: Physical activity (PA) was assessed at 11, 15, and 18 years of age by self-report and at 18 years by accelerometry in the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study. Time spent in MPA and VPA was determined using metabolic equivalents and specific cutoffs based on raw acceleration. Lumbar spine and femoral neck aBMD were measured by DXA at 18 years. Statistical analyses evaluated the association of MPA and VPA with aBMD, after adjusting for skin color, asset index, current height and age at menarche, and peak strain score (based on ground reaction forces of PA). RESULTS: Lumbar spine and femoral neck aBMD were available for 3947 (49.9% of boys) and 3960 (49.6% of boys) individuals, respectively. Time spent in MPA at 11 and 15 years was not associated with aBMD. VPA at all time points was positively related to both lumbar spine and femoral neck aBMD in boys. Results were consistent for objectively measured VPA. Girls who achieved 75+ minutes/week of VPA in at least two follow-ups showed higher aBMD at 18 years of age. Boys who reached 75+ minutes/week of VPA at all follow-ups had on average 0.117 g/cm2 (95% CI: 0.090; 0.144) higher femoral neck aBMD than those who never achieved this threshold. CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported VPA but not MPA throughout adolescence was associated with aBMD. Recommendation for PA in young people should consider the importance of VPA.



Adolescence, Bone mineral density, Cohort studies, Vigorous physical activity, Absorptiometry, Photon, Adolescent, Aging, Bone Density, Child, Cohort Studies, Exercise, Female, Femur Neck, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Lumbar Vertebrae, Male

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Osteoporos Int

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Authors also acknowledge the MRC Epidemiology PA Programme for assisting with analyses and support of activity monitors funding bodies Medical Research Council and Research Council of Norway.