Fighting osteoporosis is a lifelong process, according to researchers at the OSU Bone Research Laboratory.
Osteoporosis is generally considered only an issue for older people, but researchers at OSU’s Bone Research Lab have found that protection from the disease can start at an early age.
In a recent study, researchers found that a regimen of jumping and other load-bearing activities for children can increase bone mass by as much as 5 percent. “A 5 percent increase may not sound like a lot, but it translates into a 30 percent decrease in the risk of a hip fracture in adulthood,” says Christine Snow, director of the laboratory.
Osteoporosis is a low bone mass disease that reduces bone strength and increases risk of fracture. It’s a significant problem in the United States, and the numbers are startling.
- Osteoporosis is a serious health threat for 44 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women.
- In the United States, more than 10 million people have osteoporosis and another 34 million have low bone mass, putting them at increased risk for the disease.
- One of every two women and one of every four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
The Bone Research Laboratory is committed to reversing these trends through a lifespan approach that involves building bone mass during youth and building bone and preventing bone loss in adulthood.
For those most at risk, research at the laboratory has shown that a long-term exercise program with weighted vests reduces hip bone loss and the risk of falling in post-menopausal women.
The laboratory also serves the community by performing clinical bone scans to determine individual risk for fracture and to help people and their physicians determine what treatment might be indicated. All scans require physician referral.
An active education program also is part of the laboratory. Graduate students are actively engaged in teaching and research every year, and there are opportunities for undergraduates to gain practicum and internship experience.
“I came to OSU because of the strong reputation of the Bone Research Lab,” says doctoral student Hawley Chase Almstedt. “The knowledge I have obtained here will enable me to become a professional who can significantly contribute to the field of bone health and osteoporosis prevention.”