This study aimed to determine the relationship between bone mineral content, habitual physical activity, and calcium intake in children. Fifty-seven children, aged 8–11 years, wore pedometers for seven days to assess activity. Calcium intake was estimated by a 4-day food diary. Bone mineral content (BMC) and areal density (BMD) were measured at the total proximal femur and femoral neck using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Regression analysis was used to assess contributions of physical activity and calcium intake to BMC, residualized for bone area and body mass. Physical activity explained 11.6% of the variance in residualized BMC at the proximal femur and 14.3% at the femoral neck (p < 0.05). Calcium intake added to the variance explained at the proximal femur only (9.8%, p < 0.05). This study provides evidence for an association between BMC and habitual physical activity.
A.V. Rowlands, S.M. Powell, and R.G. Eston are with the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, and D.K. Ingledew is with the School of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, Wales, UK.