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  • Author: Leigh Gabel x
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Leigh Gabel, Heather M. Macdonald, Lindsay Nettlefold and Heather A. McKay

Purpose: We examined the influence of vigorous physical activity (VPA) bout frequency on bone strength accrual across adolescence, independent of total volume of VPA. Methods: We measured VPA (6 metabolic equivalents; total volume and bout frequency <5 min in duration) annually using waist-worn accelerometers (ActiGraph GT1M) in 309 adolescents (9–20 y at baseline: 99, <13 y; 126, 13–18 y; 84, >18 y) over a maximum of 4 years. We applied finite element analysis to high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans of the distal tibia (8% site) to estimate bone strength (failure load; F.Load, Newtons). We fit a mixed effects model with maturity offset (years from age at peak height velocity) as a random effect and sex, ethnicity, tibia length, lean body mass, and VPA (volume and bout frequency) as fixed effects. Results: VPA volume and bout frequency were positively associated with F.Load across adolescence; however, VPA volume did not predict F.Load once VPA bout frequency was included in the model. Participants in the upper quartile of VPA bout frequency (∼33 bouts per day) had 10% (500 N) greater F.Load across adolescence compared with participants in the lowest quartile (∼9 bouts per day; P = .012). Each additional daily bout of VPA was associated with 21 N greater F.Load, independent of total volume of VPA. Conclusion: Frequent VPA should be promoted for optimal bone strength accrual.