The influence of organized physical activity (including gymnastics) on young adult skeletal traits: Is maturity phase important?

Brittney Bernardoni, Tamara A. Scerpella, Paula F. Rosenbaum, Jill A. Kanaley, Lindsay N. Raab, Quefeng Li, Sijian Wang, Jodi N. Dowthwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We prospectively evaluated adolescent organized physical activity (PA) as a factor in adult female bone traits. Annual DXA scans accompanied semiannual records of anthropometry, maturity, and PA for 42 participants in this preliminary analysis (criteria: appropriately timed DXA scans at ∼1 year premenarche [predictor] and ∼5 years postmenarche [dependent variable]). Regression analysis evaluated total adolescent interscan PA and PA over 3 maturity subphases as predictors of young adult bone outcomes: 1) bone mineral content (BMC), geometry, and strength indices at nondominant distal radius and femoral neck; 2) subhead BMC; 3) lumbar spine BMC. Analyses accounted for baseline gynecological age (years pre- or postmenarche), baseline bone status, adult body size and interscan body size change. Gymnastics training was evaluated as a potentially independent predictor, but did not improve models for any outcomes (p > .07). Premenarcheal bone traits were strong predictors of most adult outcomes (semipartial r2 = .21-0.59, p ≤ .001). Adult 1/3 radius and subhead BMC were predicted by both total PA and PA 1-3 years postmenarche (p < .03). PA 3-5 years postmenarche predicted femoral narrow neck width, endosteal diameter, and buckling ratio (p < .05). Thus, participation in organized physical activity programs throughout middle and high school may reduce lifetime fracture risk in females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Exercise Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


  • Adolescence
  • Aging
  • DXA
  • Exercise
  • Fracture prevention
  • Osteoporosis


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