Osteogenic effects of a physical activity intervention in South African black children

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2014 Sep;14(3):276-85.


Objectives: To determine whether a weight-bearing physical activity intervention improves measures of bone density, size and strength in a pre- and early pubertal cohort of black South African children.

Methods: Twenty two school children (9.7±1.1 years) were cluster randomised into an exercise (EX; n=12) and control (CON; n=10) group. EX children performed a weight-bearing exercise program for 20 weeks. CON children continued their regular activities. Whole body DXA and tibial peripheral QCT scans were obtained. Urine was analysed for concentrations of cross-linked N-telopeptides of Type I collagen (NTX).

Results: Changes in 4% volumetric BMD, area and strength were greater in EX than CON. At the 38% site, change in bone area and density was greater in EX than CON. The greater change in periosteal circumference in the EX groups also resulted in a greater change in cortical thickness of the tibia compared to the CON group. NTX concentration was lower in the EX group than the CON group after the intervention.

Conclusions: This study documents for the first time the beneficial response of trabecular and cortical bone of black children to a weight bearing exercise intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Development / physiology*
  • Child
  • Collagen Type I / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • South Africa
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Collagen Type I