Bone health in Norwegian endurance athletes
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Background: Physical activity is generally accepted to be good for skeletal health. However, the effect seems limited to weight-bearing activity. Multiple studies have demonstrated that athletes competing in non-weight-bearing activities such as swimming and cycling, are at risk of developing low bone mineral density (BMD). Moreover, certain weight-bearing activities such as long distance running have been associated with low BMD. Objective: The primary objective was to evaluate bone health in Norwegian male and female endurance athletes and to identify cases of low BMD. A secondary objective was to identify possible risk factors associated with low BMD. Methods: Twenty-one runners, 11 females and 10 males, and 19 cyclists, 7 females and 12 were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. DEXA measurement of BMD in total body, dual proximal femur (DP femur) and lumbar spine was measured. Furthermore, a questionnaire regarding training, injuries, nutrition and health variables was administered on the test subjects. Results: Cyclists had significantly lower BMD for all measured sites (p ≤ 0,05). 10 of 19 cyclists were classified as having low bone mass per ASCM criteria (Z-score ≤ - 1), despite reporting to train heavy resistance training on the lower extremities. Low BMD was most prevalent at the lumbar spine. Type of sport was the only significant predictor of low BMD. Conclusion: Elite Norwegian cyclists had lower BMD compared to runners, and a large portion were classified as having low BMD as per ASCM criteria, despite that cyclists reported to perform heavy resistance training. Interventions to increase BMD in cyclists are necessary.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2017