, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1813-1822
Date: 27 Oct 2011

The influence of participation in Better Bones and Balance™ on skeletal health: evaluation of a community-based exercise program to reduce fall and fracture risk

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Abstract

Summary

Older women participating in Better Bones and Balance™ (BBB) had similar bone mass at the hip compared to a sample of low active/sedentary controls. However, both groups had higher than expected hip BMD, despite higher risk for osteoporosis among BBB participants.

Introduction

BBB is a community-based fall and fracture risk reduction program shown to reduce bone loss at the hip in older women under controlled laboratory conditions. Whether bone benefits are derived from BBB as delivered in the community setting is unknown. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationship between community-based BBB participation and parameters of skeletal health in postmenopausal women.

Methods

Women were recruited from BBB classes (n=69) and compared to low active/sedentary controls (n=46); total sample aged 69 + 7.7 years. Bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip and spine was measured using DXA; hip bone structure [cross-sectional area, cross-sectional moment of inertia] at the narrow neck and intertrochanter were derived using hip structural analysis software. Diet, physical activity, and health history were assessed by questionnaires. Group differences in bone outcomes were determined using ANCOVA controlling for age and body mass.

Results

While controls were heavier and exhibited greater total body BMD compared to BBB participants (p<0.05), there were no differences between groups in hip or spine BMD or bone structural outcomes (p>0.05) despite BBB participants reporting more frequent prior diagnoses of or risk factors for osteoporosis compared to controls. Both controls and BBB participants had higher than average T-scores at the hip (p<0.05) when compared to an age-matched cohort from NHANES.

Conclusions

These data suggest that participation in BBB may not result in direct benefits to bone. However long-term participation may be associated with other positive outcomes.