They discovered that people who broke more than once as children were more than twice as likely to break a bone as adults. This resulted in a decrease in hip bone density in women aged 45 years.
The participants in this study were young to study fracture risk and osteoporosis, but if lifestyle changes to promote bone density can be implemented earlier, it may have the greatest impact on lifelong bone health and osteoporosis risk reduction.
Childhood fractures predict the development of osteoporosis
One in two children will break a bone during childhood, with around a quarter of boys and 15% of girls experiencing repeated fractures.
However, it remains unclear why some children break bones repeatedly, or whether this predicts bone health in adults.
Children break bones for a variety of reasons. Previous studies have found that children with fractures are more likely to live in poor families, engage in more serious exercise, be overweight or have a high body mass index, have vitamin D deficiency and low calcium intake, and be more likely to be physically abused.
Children with frequent fractures may have very fragile bones, be “accident prone,” or develop bone fractures during sports or physical activity.
However, an important issue is whether children with fractures experience temporary decreases in bone strength during growth spurts or whether these bone abnormalities persist into adulthood.
The subjects were all part of the unique Dunedin Study, which followed the development of one thousand newborns born in Otepoti, Dunedin, between April 1972 and March 1973.
The researchers found that both boys and girls with multiple childhood fractures had more than twice the risk of fractures as adults. In addition, individuals with no childhood fractures tend to remain as adults ().
Childhood fractures were associated with decreased bone mineral density in the femur later in life in women, but not in men.
In conclusion, parents of children with frequent childhood fractures should be taught various methods to prevent age-related skeletal fragility.
- Fracture history in osteoporosis: risk factors and impact on quality of life – (https:pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25667782/)