Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1813–1822

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

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-011-1816-6

Cite this article as:
McNamara, A. & Gunter, K. Osteoporos Int (2012) 23: 1813. doi:10.1007/s00198-011-1816-6



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Bone health Community-based exercise Older women 

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biological and Population Health SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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