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HERSHEY, Pa., Jun 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Contrary to common belief, exercise is a more influential factor than calcium in forming strong bones in young women, a U.S. study has shown.
The research from Pennsylvania State University's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center indicates exercise is really the predominant activity in determining bone strength in adolescent women, even though calcium intake often is cited as the most important factor, said Tom Lloyd, a professor of health evaluation sciences.
The study set out to determine how calcium intake, oral contraceptive use and exercise were related to the development of peak bone mass.
Researchers found no significant relationship between calcium intake and total hip bone gain in young women from ages 12 to 22. Oral contraceptive use also had no affect on bone density, the study showed.
Previous research has shown a female's bone mass is mostly built between ages 13 and 15, so a better understanding of its strength may offer the best protection against osteoporosis later in life.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.