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Regional specificity of exercise and calcium during skeletal growth in girls: a randomized controlled trial
journal contributionposted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by S Iuliano-Burns, L Saxon, G Naughton, K Gibbons, Shona Bass
Combining exercise with calcium supplementation may produce additive or multiplicative effects at loaded sites; thus, we conducted a single blind, prospective, randomized controlled study in pre- and early-pubertal girls to test the following hypotheses. (1) At the loaded sites, exercise and calcium will produce greater benefits than exercise or calcium alone. (2) At non-loaded sites, exercise will have no benefit, whereas calcium with or without exercise will increase bone mass over that in exercise alone or no intervention. Sixty-six girls aged 8.8 ± 0.1 years were randomly assigned to one of four study groups: moderate-impact exercise with or without calcium or low-impact exercise with or without calcium. All participants exercised for 20 minutes, three times a week and received Ca-fortified (434 ± 19 mg/day) or non-fortified foods for 8.5 months. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to determine interaction and main effects for exercise and calcium on bone mass after adjusting for baseline bone mineral content and growth in limb lengths. An exercise-calcium interaction was detected at the femur (7.1%, p < 0.05). In contrast, there was no exercise-calcium interaction detected at the tibia-fibula; however, there was a main effect of exercise: bone mineral content increased 3% more in the exercise than non-exercise groups (p < 0.05). Bone mineral content increased 2-4% more in the calcium-supplemented groups than the non-supplemented groups at the humerus (12.0% vs. 9.8%, respectively, p < 0.09) and radius-ulna (12.6% vs. 8.6%, respectively, p < 0.01). In conclusion, greater gains in bone mass at loaded sites may be achieved when short bouts of moderate exercise are combined with increased dietary calcium, the former conferring region-specific effects and the latter producing generalized effects.