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Teen Pregnancy Increases Osteoporosis Risk

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BALTMORE, Md., Dec 18, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The more than 500,000 U.S. teenaged girls that give birth each year are at risk of early onset of osteoporosis, said a study from Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore.

The Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the impact of early childbearing on calcium absorption in teens.

The study, conducted with a group of teenage girls ages 13 to 18 in Baltimore, showed that one-third of the young mothers had a bone mass that meets the definitions of osteoporosis or osteopenia, the precursor condition to osteoporosis, shortly after pregnancy.

"Adolescents have a narrow window of opportunity to build bone mass and the added demands of pregnancy mean that a mother and her fetus have to compete for calcium," explained study author Kimberly O'Brien.

"Our study showed that adolescent pregnancy may compromise a girl's ability to reach optimal bone growth and that she may need to consume more calcium than is currently recommended to offset bone loss."

The study, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that more studies are needed to determine the long-term impact of early pregnancy and breastfeeding on a teen's ability to reach peak bone mass.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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