Research Alert

Osteoporosis has high worldwide prevalence, especially in older adults. The best time to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis later in life is during adolescence, when about 90% of all bone mass observed in adulthood is acquired. To this end, physical exercise has been pointed as a valuable strategy to enhance bone mineral density and is often manifested in adolescence through sports. Although the osteogenic impact of sports has been widely studied by researchers, not many compared a high number of different loading sports. This study proposed to investigate and categorize 10 different sports (soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, track and field, judo, karate, kung fu, gymnastic, baseball and swimming) according to bone and soft tissue profile. Investigators found that soccer and gymnastics have the highest bone density in most body segments and the lowest fat mass, while swimming had the lowest bone mineral density at most skeletal sites. This study may direct future longitudinal studies to investigate the different effects of sports practice on bone health and soft tissues of adolescent athletes.