European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 463–471 | Cite as

Leisure time physical activity and risk of non-vertebral fracture in men and women aged 55 years and older: the Tromsø Study

  • Bente Morseth
  • Luai A. Ahmed
  • Åshild Bjørnerem
  • Nina Emaus
  • Bjarne K. Jacobsen
  • Ragnar Joakimsen
  • Jan Størmer
  • Tom Wilsgaard
  • Lone Jørgensen


Our aim was to examine associations between leisure time physical activity and risk of non-vertebral fractures in men and women aged ≥55 years, with focus on the anatomical fracture location. Self-reported physical activity was registered in 3,450 men and 4,072 women aged 55–97 years at baseline in the Tromsø Study, Norway, in 1994–1995. Non-vertebral fractures were registered through December 31, 2009. During 75,546 person-years at risk, 1,693 non-vertebral fractures were identified. Risk of any non-vertebral fracture decreased with increasing physical activity level in men (P trend = 0.006) and non-significantly in women (P trend = 0.15), after adjustment for age, body mass index, height, smoking, and previous fracture. The reduced fracture risk was due to a reduced risk in the weight-bearing skeleton, particular at the hip, whereas risk of fracture in the non-weight-bearing skeleton was not related to physical activity. At weight-bearing sites, an inverse relationship between physical activity and fracture risk was present in both sexes (P trend ≤ 0.013). Compared with sedentary subjects, the most active men and women had respectively 37% (HR = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.45, 0.88) and 23% (HR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.62, 0.95) reduced fracture risk in the weight-bearing skeleton. Physical activity is associated with reduced fracture risk at weight-bearing sites, with no associations at non-weight-bearing sites, in both sexes. Habitual physical activity is an important amendable approach to prevent hip fracture.


Epidemiology Fracture Exercise Osteoporosis Physical activity Population study 



This work was funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bente Morseth
    • 1
  • Luai A. Ahmed
    • 2
  • Åshild Bjørnerem
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Nina Emaus
    • 2
  • Bjarne K. Jacobsen
    • 1
  • Ragnar Joakimsen
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jan Størmer
    • 7
  • Tom Wilsgaard
    • 1
  • Lone Jørgensen
    • 2
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of Health and Care SciencesUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  5. 5.Department of Clinical MedicineUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  6. 6.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  7. 7.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  8. 8.Department of Clinical Therapeutic ServicesUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway

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