Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2007) 06, 305 - 312

Review article
Exercise and Bone Mineral Accrual in Children and Adolescents
Melonie Burrows 
Author Information
Department of Orthopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Melonie Burrows
✉ Department of Orthopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Room 589, 828 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1L8
Publish Date
Received: 10-01-2007
Accepted: 18-07-2007
Published (online): 01-09-2007
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Osteoporosis is a serious skeletal disease causing an increase in morbidity and mortality through its association with age-related fractures. Although most effort in fracture prevention has been directed at retarding the rate of age-related bone loss and reducing the frequency and severity of trauma among elderly people, evidence is growing that peak bone mass is an important contributor to bone strength during later life. Indeed, there has been a large emphasis on the prevention of osteoporosis through the optimization of peak bone mass during childhood and adolescence. The prepubertal human skeleton is sensitive to the mechanical stimulation elicited by exercise and there is increasing evidence that regular weight-bearing exercise is an effective strategy for enhancing bone mineral throughout growth. Physical activity or participation in sports needs to start at prepubertal ages and be maintained through pubertal development to obtain the maximal peak bone mass achievable. High strain eliciting sports like gymnastics, or participation in sports or weight bearing physical activity like soccer, are strongly recommended to increase peak bone mass. Many other factors also influence the accumulation of bone mineral during childhood and adolescence, including heredity, gender, diet and endocrine status. However, this review article will focus solely on the effects of physical activity and exercise providing a summary of current knowledge on the interplay between activity, exercise and bone mass development during growth. Due to the selection bias and other confounding factors inherent in cross-sectional studies, longitudinal and intervention studies only will be reviewed for they provide a greater opportunity to examine the influence of mechanical loading on bone mineral accretion over time.

Key words: Puberty, loading, growth, osteoporosis, exercise

           Key Points
  • Pre-pubertal children’s ability to thermoregulate when exposed to hot and humid environments is deficient compared to adults.
  • Research into the severity of heat-related illness in pre-pubertal children is inconclusive.
  • Discretion should be used in applying findings from indoor studies to outdoor activities due to the influence of the velocity of circulating air on thermoregulation.
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