We assessed maintenance of skeletal advantages 3 years after completion of a 2-year, school-based, controlled exercise trial in adolescent girls.
Middle-school girls participated in a resistance training program embedded in physical education classes. Effort groups (low-effort group [LO] and high-effort group [HI]) were identified; the control group (CON) participated in standard physical education at a separate school. Baseline and follow-up (FU) assessments at 6, 18, and 54 (FU3) months included densitometry, anthropometry, and questionnaires assessing physical maturity and nonintervention organized physical activity. Linear mixed effects models were fit to evaluate bone outcomes across all FU time points for CON versus LO/HI.
Sixty-eight girls (23 CON/25 HI/20 LO) were 11.6 (0.3) years at baseline. Bone parameters did not differ at baseline, except femoral neck bone mineral density (LO < HI/CON, P < .05). Forty-seven participants provided FU3 assessment: 17 CON/16 HI/14 LO. After adjusting for height, gynecologic age, baseline bone, and organized physical activity, bone gains across all time points were greater for HI versus CON for legs bone mineral content, femoral neck bone mineral content/bone mineral density, and third lumbar vertebra bone mineral content/bone mineral density (P ≤ .05). At FU3, bone values were greater for HI versus CON at subhead, legs, femoral neck, and third lumbar vertebra (P < .03).
Adolescent girls who exerted high effort in a school-based resistance training program demonstrated significant skeletal benefits 3 years after program completion.