Background: A two-year, community-based, group-randomized trial to promote bone mass gains among 9-11 year-old girls through increased intake of calcium-rich foods and weight-bearing physical activity was evaluated.
Methods: Following baseline data collection, 30 5th-grade Girl Scout troops were randomized to a two-year behavioral intervention program or to a no-treatment control group. Evaluations were conducted at baseline, one year, and two years. Measures included bone mineral content, density, and area (measured by DXA), dietary calcium intake (24-hour recall), and weight-bearing physical activity (physical activity checklist interview). Mixed-model regression was used to evaluate treatment-related changes in bone mineral content (g) for the total body, lumbar spine (L1-L4), proximal femur, one-third distal radius, and femoral neck. Changes in eating and physical activity behavioral outcomes were examined.
Results: Although the intervention was implemented with high fidelity, no significant intervention effects were observed for total bone mineral content or any specific bone sites. Significant intervention effects were observed for increases in dietary calcium. No significant intervention effects were observed for increases in weight-bearing physical activity.
Conclusion: Future research needs to identify the optimal dosage of weight-bearing physical activity and calcium-rich dietary behavior change required to maximize bone mass gains in pre-adolescent and adolescent girls.