Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Print version ISSN 0042-9686
KAI, Ming Chan; ANDERSON, Mary and LAU, Edith M.C.. Exercise interventions: defusing the world's osteoporosis time bomb. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2003, vol.81, n.11, pp. 827-830. ISSN 0042-9686. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0042-96862003001100010.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, affecting millions of people worldwide. The associated health care costs are growing in parallel with increases in elderly populations, and it is expected that the number of osteoporotic fractures will double over the next 50 years. The best way to address osteoporosis is prevention. Some interventions to maximize and preserve bone mass have multiple health benefits and are cost-effective. For example, modifications to diet and lifestyle can help to prevent osteoporosis, and could potentially lead to a significant decrease in fracture rates; and exercise is a valuable adjunct to programmes aimed at alleviating the risks and symptoms of osteoporosis. Practising exercise at a young age helps maximize the mineral density of bones while they are still growing and maturing, and continuing to excercise minimizes bone loss later in life. Not only does exercise improve bone health, it also increases muscle strength, coordination, balance, flexibility and leads to better overall health. Walking, aerobic exercise, and t'ai chi are the best forms of exercise to stimulate bone formation and strengthen the muscles that help support bones. Encouraging physical activity at all ages is therefore a top priority to prevent osteoporosis.
Keywords : Osteoporosis [prevention and control]; Fractures [prévention et contrôle]; Exercise; Bone density [physiology].