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Background:

Many female adolescents participate in insufficient physical activity to maintain cardiovascular fitness and promote optimal bone growth. This study evaluates the impact of a school-based intervention on fitness, activity, and bone among adolescent females.

Methods:

Subjects were assigned to an intervention (n = 63) or comparison (n = 59) group, and underwent assessments of cardiovascular fitness (VO2peak), physical activity, body composition, bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), and serum markers of bone turnover at baseline and at the end of each of two school semesters.

Results:

The intervention increased physical activity, VO2peak, and BMC for the thoracic spine (P values < 0.05). Bone turnover markers were not affected. In longitudinal analyses of the combined groups, improvements in cardiovascular fitness predicted increased bone formation (P < 0.01) and bone resorption (P < 0.05).

Conclusion:

A school-based intervention for adolescent females effectively increased physical activity, cardiovascular fitness, and thoracic spine BMC.

Schneider, Bassin, Graham, and Cooper are with the University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697. Schneider is with the Dept of Planning, Policy, and Design; Graham is with the Dept of Psychology and Social Behavior; Bassin is with the Dept of Medicine; and Cooper is with the Dept of Pediatrics. Dunton is with the Dept of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033. Eliakim is with the Dept of Pediatrics, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel.