(Ivanhoe Newswire) — New research shows 2 percent of college-age women have osteoporosis and another 15 percent have significant losses in bone density.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas gathered bone density readings from 164 women between ages 18 and 30 years. Computers analyzed scans of the women’s skeletons and measured bone density. Researchers correlated bone density with other factors linked to osteoporosis, such as exercise, diet and lifestyle habits.
After analyzing the data, researchers found 2 percent of young women already had low enough bone density to cause osteoporosis of the spine. Another 15 percent had osteopenia, or increased risk of developing osteoporosis. One factor that was significantly associated with bone loss was the use of Depo-Provera, a common method of birth control.
Researchers found women with extremely low body weight from dieting had the highest risk for reduced bone density. These women avoided exercise, fearing it would increase their muscle mass and cause them to look bigger. Dairy products, a main source of calcium, were also often eliminated from their diets.
Women who had been involved with high school athletics had the highest bone density levels. Researchers say bones reach their peak mass around age 30. Lead researcher Lori Turner, a health sciences professor from the University of Arkansas, says building bone mass in these younger years is critical. She likens it to a bank account and says, “The more you save, the more you will have to draw on later, if necessary.”
SOURCE: The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 2002