-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Girls involved in
high-impact activities such as running, basketball, gymnastics and
cheerleading are at increased risk for stress fractures, a new
Researchers analyzed seven years of data involving 6,831 girls,
aged 9 to 15, in the United States. During that time, 267 (3.9
percent) of the girls developed a stress fracture.
Girls with a family history of osteoporosis or lone bone-mass
density had nearly twice the increased risk of suffering a stress
fracture than other girls. The researchers also found that girls
who did eight or more hours of physical activity a week were twice
as likely to develop a stress fracture compared to girls who did
less than four hours of physical activity a week.
When the researchers focused on high-impact activities, they
found that only basketball, running, gymnastics and cheerleading
were independently associated with a greater likelihood of stress
fracture. Each hour per week of participation in these activities
increased the risk of stress fracture by about 8 percent.
The study also found that girls who started menstruation at a
later age were more likely to suffer a stress factor. Each one-year
delay in the start of menstruation was linked with about a 30
percent increased risk.
There was no association between stress fracture risk and being
overweight, underweight or having an eating disorder.
The findings show the "need to establish training programs that
are rigorous and competitive, but include varied training in
lower-impact activities to decrease the cumulative amount of impact
in order to reduce the risk of stress fracture," wrote Allison E.
Field, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School,
The study appears online and in the August print issue of the
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about
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