Lifestyle factors and the development of bone mass and bone strength in young women

J Pediatr. 2004 Jun;144(6):776-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2004.02.047.


Objective: To evaluate the contributions of adolescent calcium intake, oral contraceptive use, and exercise on bone mass and bone strength.Study design Eighty white women participated in 10 years of the Penn State Young Women's Health Study, a longitudinal study of community participants. We measured bone mineral mass (g), density (BMD, g/cm(2)), and body composition from dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and estimated proximal femur section modulus (bone bending strength). Calcium intake was determined from 45 days of prospective food records at regular intervals between the ages of 12 and 22 years. Exercise history and oral contraceptive use were assessed by questionnaire.

Results: Daily calcium intakes between the ages of 12 and 22 years ranged from 500 to 1900 mg/d and were not significantly associated with bone gain or bone strength. Oral contraceptive use during adolescence was not correlated with bone or body composition measurements. Femoral neck BMD did not change from 17 to 22 years of age, but section modulus increased 3% (P <.05). Only exercise during adolescence was significantly associated with increased BMD and bone bending strength.

Conclusions: Adolescent lifestyle patterns can influence young adult bone strength. Our data suggest that exercise is the predominant lifestyle determinant of bone strength for this cohort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Density*
  • Bone Development*
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Child
  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Longitudinal Studies


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Contraceptives, Oral