Sedentary behavior may lead to low bone mineral content in adolescents

Adolescents who spend long hours engaged in sedentary activities may be at increased risk of having low bone mineral content, a condition that may lead to developing osteoporosis later in life.

According to recent study results published in BMC Public Health, whole body bone mineral content (BMC) was lower in boys who use the internet for leisure activities, whereas in girls, femoral neck BMC was negatively associated with time spent studying. Researchers suggested that girls may lower their risk by participating in at least 3 hours of extra-curricular osteogenic sports per week.

Researchers enrolled 359 Spanish adolescents from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Study. Additional adjustment for lean mass slightly reduced the negative association between time spent studying and femoral neck BMC in girls, but the greatest benefit was found in girls who participated in a high-intensity sport involving running or being on their feet. Girls who participated in osteogenic sports experienced a significantly smaller risk of having low femoral neck BMC, independently of the cut-off selected for the time spent studying.

“More research is needed to establish exactly why there are differences between the two genders, and why these types of activity are particularly damaging to teenage boys and girls, but we can speculate that it is linked to how long they remain in the same position,” Luis Garcia-Marco, of the University of Exeter, stated in a press release. “Our findings indicate that activities such as studying, where you spend a long time sitting down without getting to your feet, could be detrimental to bone health. Although development of osteoporosis is particularly linked to adolescence, this may also have implications for other groups of people, such as office workers.”

For more information:

Garcia-Marco L. BMC Public Health.2012;12:971.

Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.

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