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J Bone Miner Res. 1997 Oct;12(10):1708-13.

Evidence for increased bone formation following a brief endurance-type training intervention in adolescent males.

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Department of Research, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, University of Connecticut, Hartford 06106, U.S.A.


The effect of exercise training, particularly relatively brief periods, on bone turnover markers in adolescents has been poorly studied. Thirty-eight healthy males (16+/-0.7 years) participated in a 5-week summer school program in which 20 subjects were randomly assigned to a training group consisting of 2 h/day, 5 days/week of endurance exercise, and 18 subjects were assigned to a control group. Bone formation was assessed by measurements of circulating osteocalcin, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP), and the C-terminal procollagen peptide (PICP). Bone resorption was assessed by urinary levels of free deoxypyridinoline cross-links (dPYR) and the C-(CTX) and N-terminal (NTX) telopeptide cross-links. Prior to training, there was a weak positive correlation between fitness and PICP (r = 0.27, p < 0.05), but no correlations were observed between fitness and either the other markers of bone formation or bone resorption. Training led to a significant increase in (1) osteocalcin (15+/-4%, p < 0.03), (2) BSAP (21+/-6%, p < 0.02), and (3) PICP (30+/-11%, p < 0.03) and to a significant decrease in NTX (-21 +/- 3%, p < 0.05). These bone turnover markers did not change in the control subjects (osteocalcin, 0+/-4%; BSAP, 2+/-4%; PICP, -4 +/- 6%; NTX, -6 +/- 4%). There was no change in urinary dPYR and CTX in either control or trained subjects. Fitness is only weakly, if at all, correlated with bone formation, but a relatively brief period of endurance training leads to a substantial increase in bone formation markers in adolescent males. School-based, short-term exercise training programs could play a role in enhancing bone formation in adolescents.

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