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Load-Bearing Exercise Benefits Men’s Bone Health

Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide, being more common in women, but men also develop it—usually after age 65.  Without intervention, 1 in 5 men develop fractures relating to osteoporosis in older age. Mattias Lorentzon, from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), and colleagues evaluated 833 men who were 18- to 20-years old at the start of the study. The researchers measured the participants' bone mass and collected information about their exercise habits. Five years later the recruits came back to the lab to report activity levels and get bone scans again. The researchers discovered that men who both started off with a high level of load-bearing exercise at the study's start and those who stepped up the pace had a better chance at building bone than men who remained sedentary or those who slacked off during the five year period. They found that for every hour of increased physical activity during the five-year study, the men in this study gained bone mass.  Subjects who participated in load-bearing sports for four hours a week or more showed an increase in hip bone density of 1.3%, whereas those men who remained sedentary during the five year study lost about 2.1% of bone mass in the hip.  Sports that involve jumping or fast starts and stops and increase the load put on the body's bones seemed most associated with the enhanced protection for men, with basketball and volleyball seemed to be the best kinds of activities for building bone mass, followed by soccer and tennis. Such load-bearing sports seem to push the body to form new bone tissue. Activities that do not put an increased load on the bones, like swimming and bicycling did not seem associated with the building of bigger bones or more bone mass, even though they offer other health benefits. The study authors conclude that: “increased physical activity was related to an advantageous development of [areal bone mineral density], trabecular [bone mineral density] and cortical bone size, indicating that exercise is important in optimizing peak bone mass in young men.”


Martin Nilsson, Claes Ohlsson, Anders Odén, Dan Mellstrom, Mattias Lorentzon.  “Increased physical activity is associated with enhanced development of peak bone mass in men: A five-year longitudinal study.”  Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Volume 27, Issue 5, May 2012, Pages: 1206–1214.

The Burdens of Osteoporosis in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia

A report by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) shows alarming projections and reveals the poor state of post-fracture care in the Russian Federation and many other countries in the region. Osteoporosis, a disease of the bone which leaves people at increased risk of fracture, is most common in the older population. Yet, despite the major public health burden of osteoporosis-related fractures, the IOF submits that the disease suffers from severe under recognition. While low levels of calcium and vitamin D intake impact negatively on bone health, the IOF report observes that the average daily calcium intake in nearly all countries outlined in the report falls far below the FAO/WHO recommendations. In addition, the majority of populations in the region suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency. Although older people who sustain a hip fracture are at increased risk of death and suffer long term disability throughout the world, the report indicates that this problem is far more severe in the Russia Federation and in many other countries of the region. There is high mortality rate after a hip fracture, reaching up to 45-52% during the first year after fracture in some Russian cities. IOF Chief Operating Officer Judy Stenmark states that: "Wider and more equitable access to diagnostic tests and appropriate medication are required to stem the growing tide of fractures in the region."


International Osteoporosis Foundation.  “Eastern European & Central Asian Regional Audit – Epidemiology, Costs & Burden of Osteoporosis in 2010.” November 2010.

Robert Goldman, MD, PhD, DO, FAASP speaks about Olympic Sports Medicine & Human Augmentation at the China Olympic Games at the 16th A4M Conference in Las Vegas.

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