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Physical activity, sedentary time, and longitudinal bone strength in adolescent girls

Bland VL1Bea JW2,3,4Roe DJ4,5Lee VR2Blew RM2Going SB2.

Osteoporos Int. 2020 May 9. doi: 10.1007/s00198-020-05406-z. [Epub ahead of print]



The association between baseline physical activity and sedentary time with 2-year longitudinal bone strength was evaluated. The effect of physical activity on bone depended on maturity status. Sedentary time did not negatively impact bone outcomes, regardless of maturity. Maturity should be considered when developing exercise interventions to improve bone outcomes.


Physical activity during adolescence is important to obtain peak bone mass; however, adolescents are increasingly sedentary, potentially increasing risk for osteoporosis later in life. The aim of this study was to assess the association of physical activity and sedentary time with 2-year longitudinal bone outcomes in adolescent females (69% Hispanic/31% non-Hispanic).


Bone strength was assessed at the 66% tibia, 20% femur, and 66% radius of 9- to 12-year-old girls (n = 131) using peripheral quantitative computed tomography at baseline and 2-year follow-up. Physical activity and sedentary time were assessed via accelerometry. Linear regression analyses were used to assess whether baseline vigorous physical activity (VPA), moderate physical activity (MPA), light physical activity (LPA), or sedentary time predict longitudinal bone outcomes, adjusting for relevant confounders.


Significant interactions were found between maturity offset and physical activity. In weight-bearing bones, significant interactions were primarily identified between VPA and maturity offset. Interactions indicated that VPA was associated with favorable bone outcomes at the tibia and femur in girls further past the age of PHV. However, this favorable effect was not observed in girls closer to the age of PHV. At the radius, interactions were primarily observed between LPA and maturity offset. Again, LPA was more beneficial for girls further past the age of PHV. Sedentary time did not significantly influence bone outcomes.


The effects of physical activity on bone may be dependent on maturity. Therefore, physical activity interventions, with attention to maturity status, may be required to optimize bone strength in girls.