Summary: After menopause, bones decline in structure and can break more easily. Physical activity can strengthen bones. This study investigated how activity and body composition can impact bone structure in post-menopausal women. Higher levels of physical activity were positively associated with bone structure at the lower leg. Purpose: The menopausal transition is characterized by dramatic bone loss, leading to an increased risk of fracture. Few studies have examined how modifiable risk factors influence bone structure. Thus, the objective of this cross-sectional study was to examine the relationship between habitual physical activity (PA), body composition, and bone structure in post-menopausal women with low bone mass. Methods: Data was analyzed from 276 post-menopausal women with low bone mass enrolled in the Heartland Osteoporosis Prevention Study. Body composition and bone structure measures were collected using dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) at the tibia. Habitual PA was collected using the Human Activity Profile questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the relative impact of habitual PA and body composition on bone structure measures (density, area, and strength). Direct and/or indirect effects of PA on bone outcomes were assessed by path analysis. Results: Mean (± SD) age of participants was 54.5 (± 3.2) years and average BMI was 25.7 (± 4.7). Mean T-score of the total lumber spine and hip were − 1.5 (±.6) and − 0.8 (±.59), respectively, with all women classified with low bone mass. Habitual PA had a significant positive effect on bone area and strength measures at the 66% site, and trend effects at the 4% site. Lean mass had a significant positive effect on area and strength at the 66% site and 4% site. Fat mass showed no effect at the 66% site, with a positive effect on density and strength at the 4% site. Conclusion: Increased habitual activity was related to improved bone structure of the tibia. Our results in post-menopausal women emphasize that PA and lean mass preservation are important for maintaining bone structure in the years following menopause.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism