IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis

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MAY 11, 2002

Lisboa Congress Center, Portugal

Exercise prevents bone loss in early postmenopausal women

Vigorous, high-impact exercise is an effective method of offsetting menopause-induced bone loss and preventing osteoporosis, German researchers report. Although the benefits of exercise during the pre- and postmenopausal periods are already well established, this study specifically assessed the effects of exercise during the early years of menopause, a period characterized by significant alterations in the endocrine system.

Dr. Klaus Engelke and colleagues from the University of Erlangen reported interim results of the three-year EFOPS (Erlangen Fitness Osteoporosis Prevention Study) today at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis. One hundred thirty-seven early (1-8 years) postmenopausal women with osteopenia were selected for the study, 86 of whom were assigned to the training group and 51 of whom served as controls. Women in the training group participated in two weekly joint training sessions and two individual home sessions involving high-impact, strength and endurance training. All women in EFOPS have also received individualized calcium and vitamin D supplementation based on a personalized nutritional analysis. Subjects were assessed for isometric strength and bone mineral density (DXA: LS, total hip) at baseline and year two, and were administered a detailed questionnaire at baseline, year one and year two. Two-year data on 50 women in the training group and 33 controls were presented at the congress.

The results demonstrated that during the early postmenopausal years, bone loss can be offset by following a dedicated exercise program. Bone mineral density in the lumbar spine (L1-L4) increased by 0.7 ± 2.9% in exercising subjects, while it decreased by 2.3 ± 2.4% in non-exercising controls. Total hip BMD decreased over the two-year period in both groups, although this decrease was less pronounced among women who exercised (-0.4 ± 2.5% vs. -1.7 ± 2.9%, respectively). Furthermore, subjects in the training group had greater muscle strength and reported less back pain and improved quality of life, while these parameters remained unchanged among controls (Abst P56SA).

According to Engelke, first year results of this ongoing study were just published and two year results have been completed. Third year results will be available sometime in 2003. "This is an alternative to many other treatments," says Engelke. "Doing constant exercise is a more effective way of preventing osteoporosis".

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a worldwide organization dedicated to the fight against osteoporosis around the world. It brings together scientists, physicians, patient societies and corporate partners. Working hand in hand with its 139 member societies in 71 countries and other healthcare-related organizations around the world, IOF encourages awareness and prevention, early detection and improved treatment of osteoporosis.

The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis is being held May 10-14, 2002 in Lisbon, Portugal. Some 5,000 participants are expected for the congress, expected to be the largest gathering ever of osteoporosis specialists from around the world. Abstracts from the congress are published in a supplementary volume of the journal Osteoporosis International. For more information visit the congress website:

IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis abstracts can be accessed on:

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For more information contact Siofra Sharpe:

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