Study results presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology last November and reported on MDConsult.com revealed that active children may have stronger bones as adults. Certainly, it is no secret that regular physical activity is recommended for everyone, including children, but the association between childhood exercise and adult bone structure has not been studied extensively.
Previous studies concluded that children who participated in vigorous activities had greater cartilage deposition in their knees compared to children who were less active. In the Australian study, reported at the ACR meeting last fall, fitness data was collected on about 8,500 children in 1985. Then, when the study participants were between 31-41 years old, the impact of exercise on knee structure was assessed. Increased physical activity levels during childhood were linked to increased tibial bone area and increased medial tibial cartilage volume in adulthood, suggestive of a long-term protective effect on the health of the knee joint, and possibly, the prevention of knee osteoarthritis.
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