Exercise, particularly high-impact activity, builds stronger bones in children, even for those who carry genetic variants that predispose them to bone weakness, according to new research.
“While we have known for decades that physical activity during childhood builds up bone and confers lifelong benefits, we did not know whether the effects of activity depend on genetic risks for bone fragility,” said first author Jonathan A. Mitchell, Ph.D., a paediatric researcher and Instructor of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “This study was the first to show that physical activity can counteract the negative effects of genetic variants that associate with bone fragility in childhood.”
The researchers found that across the board, children had higher bone density scores if they had higher levels of physical activity. This even applied to those with a higher genetic risk for bone fragility. Importantly, the benefits of activity were driven entirely by high-impact, weight-bearing activity, such as gymnastics and soccer, which involve sprinting, turning or jumping actions.
Based on their current results, the researchers advise that paediatricians, schools and child activity programs should encourage high-impact physical activity for children who are generally healthy.
Encourage your kids to go outside an play sports as much as possible. For strong bones, sports like baseball, tennis and gymnastics will help your child develop better.
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