, Volume 72, Issue 6, pp 666-674
Date: 06 Mar 2003

Influence of Weight-bearing Exercises on Bone Acquisition in Prepubertal Monozygotic Female Twins: A Randomized Controlled Prospective Study

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The aim of this study was to determine whether high-impact exercises have an osteogenic effect in 21 prepubertal female monozygotic twins aged 8.7 (SD 0.7) years. Bone mineral density (aBMD), bone mineral content (BMC), bone area, and body composition were derived from DXA. Skeletal maturity was assessed by the Tanner-Whitehouse technique. Anthropometric dimensions (28 dimensions) were measured and also used to derive adiposity and muscularity indices, and information about physical activity was obtained by questionnaire. These measurements were taken before and after the exercise period. The exercise program consisted of high-impact exercises. During 9 months, one girl of each twin pair performed the exercises 3 times a week under supervision of a teacher while their sisters served as control group. At baseline there were no differences between the groups. After 9 months, exercisers (Ex) and controls (Con) had similar increases in height and weight. Significant lower adiposity was observed in the exercise group vs the control group. None of the bone indices differed significantly between the two groups. When the analyses were done for a subgroup of twin pairs (n=12) who did not participate in high-impact sports during their leisure time, significant differences were obtained for aBMD and BMC of the proximal femur in favor of the exercise group. These results indicate that for prepubertal girls who are not involved in sport activities or who are only involved in low-impact sport activities this exercise program has an osteogenic effect on the proximal femur, but for girls who are already involved in high-impact sports this protocol does not have any additional effect on the bone status.