ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
CANCER
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
The Food Irradiation Story
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Run for Your Life
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Swine Flu May Have Infected More Than 100,000 Americans
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
The Unmedicated Mind
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
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Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls

WEDNESDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Want your teenage daughter to have strong bones? Steer her to soccer or other impact sports, experts suggest, and you may help her prevent low bone density later in life.

Sports such as soccer -- with the combination of weight-bearing exercise and repetitive, "impact-loading" from jumping and running -- have been shown to build bone mineral density in adolescent girls better than some other activities.

Building bone density during the teen years is considered crucial for healthy bone development, helping to ward off osteoporosis, the disease that causes bones to become brittle and break later on in life. Peak bone mass is typically achieved by age 30, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

"It's those years of adolescence, and early teens to late 20s, that are most important" for bone building," said James W. Bellew, an associate professor of physical therapy at Louisiana State University Health Science Center-Shreveport.

Bellew and his colleagues compared the effects of soccer, weight-lifting and swimming on the bone mineral density of teen and pre-teen girls, ages 10 to 17. The groups included 29 swimmers, 16 soccer players and 19 weightlifters.

Soccer players had the best bone density, followed by the weight-lifters and then the swimmers. Bellew's team compared the groups' average bone mineral density to what is considered the norm for a 25-year-old woman.

Soccer players' bone density was significantly greater than the norm, and the weight-lifting group was equal to the norm. The swimmers were lower than the norm. Still, that's not cause for alarm, he said, because the girls were still in their teens and have time to accrue bone density.

Soccer and other "impact" sports expose the body to repeated impact, and that activity is thought helpful to bone health. "Basketball and volleyball may very well do the same" as soccer in building bone, he said. Jogging and tennis may also be good, he added.

The study results, published in the journal Pediatric Physical Therapy, don't surprise Susan Randall, senior director of education at the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Swimming is not a weight-bearing exercise," she said. "Soccer increases the loading on the bone which actually stimulates bone production."

Bellew isn't discouraging those who love swimming to give up the sport. "The odds are the swimmers' density [in the study] will be fine, because they are active, but our data suggest they aren't accruing as much bone as those who do weight-bearing exercise."

"If your primary objective is to increase bone mass, swimming is not the best," he said. "But in terms of weight maintenance, it's good."

Besides exercise, Bellew suggests teens can boost their bone health by reducing their soda intake and increasing their milk consumption. "Genetics is probably the largest factor," he added, so those with a family history of osteoporosis may want to pay even more attention to bone-building exercise.

Randall agreed that families should pay even closer attention to their children if a parent or grandparent suffers from low bone density. And parents can emphasize a healthy diet for their sons as well as daughters. While men are less likely than women to suffer osteoporosis, they still need to build bone, she said.

One of the first foods teen girls often abandon are dairy products, Randall said, because they perceive them as fattening. Parents should be sure their children get the recommended 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day. That's roughly the amount of calcium in four glasses of milk. And the milk can be low-fat, she said.

-Kathleen Doheny

More information

To learn more about bone health, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation.



SOURCES: Susan Randall, R.N., C.F.N.P., senior director of education, National Osteoporosis Foundation, Washington, D.C.; James W. Bellew, P.T., Ed.D., associate professor of physical therapy, Louisiana State University Health Science Center-Shreveport; Pediatric Physical Therapy

Last Updated: May 07, 2008

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