The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Evidence of sustained skeletal benefits from impact-loading exercise in young females: a 3-year longitudinal study

Nurmi-Lawton, J.A., Baxter-Jones, A.D., Mirwald, R.L., Bishop, J.A., Taylor, P., Cooper, C. and New, S.A. (2004) Evidence of sustained skeletal benefits from impact-loading exercise in young females: a 3-year longitudinal study Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 19, (2), pp. 314-322. (doi:10.1359/JBMR.0301222).

Record type: Article


The skeletal effects from intensive exercise throughout puberty are undefined. Forty-five female gymnasts and 52 controls were studied over 3 years, including a heredity aspect. The effects of size, maturity, exercise, and diet were identified using a multilevel regression model. Results demonstrated sustained skeletal benefits resulting from exercise throughout all stages of pubertal development.
Introduction: Weight-bearing exercise is beneficial for peak bone mass development. However, whether skeletal benefits achieved with exercise are maintained if training remains intensive throughout the pubertal years is not entirely clear. The influence of familial resemblance for bone mass remains undefined in physically active versus inactive children. The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term influences of impact-loading exercise on bone quantity and quality in young females after controlling for growth, maturation, and hereditary factors.
Materials and Methods: At baseline, 45 gymnasts (G) and 52 normally active controls (C) 8-17 years of age were recruited. Anthropometry, diet, physical activity, and quantitative ultrasound (QUS) were measured annually for 3 consecutive years. DXA scans of total body (TB) and lumbar spine (LS) bone mineral content (BMC) and density (BMD) were taken three times at 1-year intervals. A multilevel regression model was fitted, and the independent effects of body size, maturity, physical activity, and diet were identified over time. To assess heredity influences, 27 G mothers and 26 C mothers volunteered for cross-sectional measurements of anthropometry, QUS, and BMC/BMD.
Results and Conclusions: Gymnasts were smaller and lighter (as were their mothers) than controls, but they had significantly higher QUS and axial and appendicular BMC and BMD, with >170 g more bone mineral in TB across puberty (after adjustment for maturity [years from peak height velocity], height, weight, energy, and protein intake). Gymnasts had up to 24-51% higher BMC and 13-28% higher BMD, depending on skeletal site. These results provide evidence of sustained skeletal benefits from impact-loading exercise, which are unlikely to result entirely from heredity, throughout pubertal years

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2004
Keywords: peak bone mass, exercise, girls, heredity, longitudinal


Local EPrints ID: 25851
ISSN: 0884-0431
PURE UUID: 986786ae-3821-470b-8ba9-df8bb87a8f30
ORCID for C. Cooper: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Apr 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:09

Export record



Author: J.A. Nurmi-Lawton
Author: A.D. Baxter-Jones
Author: R.L. Mirwald
Author: J.A. Bishop
Author: P. Taylor
Author: C. Cooper ORCID iD
Author: S.A. New

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.