Exercise in Adolescence and Its Impact on Postmenopausal Decline

Douglas Perry

Technology, Cycling, Swimming


Exercise in Adolescence and Its Impact on Postmenopausal Decline - Fitness, menopause, women's health, adolescent sports, mature


Shane Trotter is probably one of the most active proponents of exercise and human development in teenagers and the young in general. So, he would probably get a big kick out of the research done by the University of Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.



The actual research was on risk factors for 5-year prospective height loss among postmenopausal women. The study found several factors in post-menopausal women that connect height loss, which is not uncommon amount this age group, with risk of death and disease.


However, the thing that stood out was that if the participants had performed strenuous exercise at least three times a week regularly in their teens, it was protective for later life height loss.


The researchers associated three factors with a height loss of 1 or more inches in these women: older age, heavier weight and the use of corticosteroids, known to reduce bone density. So, the likelihood is that the exercise in earlier life helps to build bone density and acts as a buffer against deterioration later in life.


"Although this study was done on postmenopausal women, there is a key message for younger women: strenuous exercise in teenage years has lasting effects on your bones later in life," said SUNY Distinguished Professor Jean Wactawski-Wende, the study's senior author, adding, "Exercise also increases strength and balance, both of which might help to prevent spine fracture and other fractures later in life."



Post-Menopausal Height Loss and Mortality

The study examined 1,024 women enrolled in the Buffalo Osteoporosis and Periodontal Disease Study. OsteoPerio is an ancillary study of the landmark Women's Health Initiative, a national prospective study investigating major causes of death and disease in postmenopausal women.


For this study, researchers measured participants' height at baseline and again five years later. The participants' average age was 66, and the vast majority were white.


Wactawski-Wende and her colleagues focused specifically on postmenopausal women who lost 1 inch or more at the five-year follow up based on the findings from two previous studies that connected mortality to height loss.


The average height loss among the more than 1,000 women studied was fourth-tenths of an inch during an average five-year follow up. The 70 women who experienced height loss of more than an inch were older in age, weighed more at baseline and had higher intake of corticosteroids.


This set of variables may be useful in predicting the five-year risk of marked height loss in postmenopausal women, according to the researchers.


"The factors identified in this study are easy to obtain and could be used by clinicians to identify women at most risk of height loss," Wactawski-Wende said. "In women who have these risk factors, clinicians might consider other measures known to prevent height loss."


In general, though, Wactawski-Wende adds that postmenopausal women should have their height checked regularly to monitor for height loss.

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