Although there is strong and consistent evidence that childhood and adolescent physical activity is osteogenic, the evidence concerning its sustained effects to adult bone health is not conclusive. Therefore the value of interventions, in addition to beneficial bone adaptation, could be exposure to activities children enjoy and therefore continue. As such, interventions should provide skills, pleasure, and supportive environments to ensure continued bone-strengthening physical activity with age. Until the dose-response as well as timing of physical activity to bone health is more fully understood, it is sensible to assume that physical activity is needed throughout the lifespan to improve and maintain skeletal health. Current federal guidelines for health-related physical activity, which explicitly recommend bone-strengthening physical activities for youth, should also apply to adults.
Janz and Francis are with the Department of Health and Human Physiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.