Author(s): Baptista F, Barrigas C, Vieira F, SantaClara H, Homens PM,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract In the context of physical education curricula, markers of physical fitness (e.g., aerobic capacity, muscular strength, flexibility, and body mass index or body fat) are usually evaluated in reference to health standards. Despite their possible mediating role in the relationship between weight-bearing or muscle forces and features of bone tissue, these attributes of fitness may not be the most relevant to predict skeletal health. It is therefore important to analyze the relative contribution of these factors to the variability in bone tissue of different parts of the skeleton, and to analyze it by gender, as sensitivity to mechanical loading can diverge for boys and girls. We compared the effects of habitual physical activity (PA) and lean mass, as surrogates of weight-bearing and muscle forces, and of physical fitness (aerobic and muscle capacity of lower and upper limbs) on bone mineral content (BMC) and size of total body, lumbar spine, femoral neck, and 1/3 radius in 53 girls and 64 boys from 7.9 to 9.7 years of age. After controlling for bone age, body mass, body height, and calcium intake, lean mass was the most important predictor of bone size and/or mineral in both genders (p < 0.05), while habitual weight-bearing PA positively influenced BMC in boys (p < 0.05). The effect of muscle in bone was not determined by PA and fitness score did not explain bone variability. Femoral neck was the bone site more closely associated with mechanical loading factors; boys with a PA > 608 counts/min/day (~105 min/day of moderate and vigorous intensity) showed 13-20\% more BMC than those with less physical activity, and girls with a lean mass >19 kg showed 12-19\% more BMC than those with less lean mass. These findings suggest that lean mass was the most important predictor of bone size and/or mineralization in both genders, while habitual weight-bearing PA appears to positively impact on bone mineral in prepubertal boys and that both lean mass and PA need to be considered in physical education curricula and other health-enhancing programs.
This article was published in J Bone Miner Metab
and referenced in Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine