High impact physical activity may reduce risk of hip fracture

January 18, 2001

Patterns of physical activity and ultrasound attenuation by heel bone among Norfolk cohort of European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC Norfolk): population-based study

Men and women who regularly participate in high impact physical activity may be at a lower risk of hip fracture than those who participate in moderate or low impact activities, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers in Cambridge identified 2,296 men and 2,914 women who had had a heel ultrasound measurement taken (to predict their risk of hip fracture) as part of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer. Both men and women who reported participating in high impact physical activity, including jogging, tennis, badminton, and step aerobics, had a significantly higher ultrasound measurement than those who reported no activity of this type. This, say the authors, could be translated into a 33% reduction in risk of hip fracture in men and a 12% reduction in women. Women who reported climbing more stairs and watching less television also had higher ultrasound measurements. Moderate or low impact physical activity had no effect.

These results support the need for interventions to increase participation in high impact activities amongst younger men and women to slow the rate of bone loss in later life, conclude the authors.

Nicholas Wareham, University of Cambridge, Institute of Public Health, Cambridge, UK Email: njw1004@medschl.cam.ac.uk


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