Background: Of the few exercise intervention studies focusing on pediatric populations, none have confined the intervention to the scheduled physical education curriculum.
Objective: To examine the effect of an 8-month school-based jumping program on the change in areal bone mineral density (aBMD), in grams per square centimeter, of healthy third- and fourth-grade children.
Study design: Ten elementary schools were randomized to exercise (n = 63) and control groups (n = 81). Exercise groups did 10 tuck jumps 3 times weekly and incorporated jumping, hopping, and skipping into twice weekly physical education classes. Control groups did regular physical education classes. At baseline and after 8 months of intervention, we measured aBMD and lean and fat mass by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (Hologic QDR-4500). Calcium intake, physical activity, and maturity were estimated by questionnaire.
Results: The exercise group showed significantly greater change in femoral trochanteric aBMD (4.4% vs 3.2%; P <.05). There were no group differences at other sites. Results were similar after controlling for covariates (baseline aBMD change in height, change in lean, calcium, physical activity, sex, and ethnicity) in hierarchical regression.
Conclusions: An easily implemented school-based jumping intervention augments aBMD at the trochanteric region in the prepubertal and early pubertal skeleton.