, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 31-38
Date: 04 Jan 2007

Peripheral Bone Mineral Density and Different Intensities of Physical Activity in Children 6–8 Years Old: The Copenhagen School Child Intervention Study

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This study aimed to evaluate the association between objectively measured habitual physical activity and calcaneal and forearm bone mineral density (BMD, g/cm2), one mechanically more loaded and one less loaded skeletal region, in children aged 6–8 years. BMD was measured in 297 boys and 265 girls by peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in the forearm and calcaneus. An accelerometer registered the level of physical activity during 4 days (2 weekdays and the weekend). Weight, height, and skinfold thickness were measured. In order to establish thresholds (count · min−1) for bone-stimulating physical activity, we evaluated different definitions of vigorous physical activity. The boys had 3.2% higher distal forearm bone mineral content (BMC, P < 0.001) and 4.5% higher distal forearm BMD (P < 0.001) than the girls. They also carried out 9.7% more daily physical activity and spent 14.6–19.0% more time in vigorous physical activity (all P < 0.05) compared to the girls. In contrast, the girls had 3.8% higher calcaneal BMC (P < 0.01) and 2.5% higher calcaneal BMD (P < 0.05) than the boys. Both calcaneal and forearm BMD were significantly related to total time of daily physical activity as well as with intense physical activity above all the chosen cut-off points (all P < 0.05). The β value for mean count · min−1 physical activity was significantly lower than that for all the chosen cut-off points of vigorous activity both for calcaneal and distal forearm BMD. This study suggests that both habitual daily physical activity and amount of vigorous physical activity in children aged 6–8 years are associated with appendicular BMD.