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Osteoporosis Less Likely in Men Who Jog

Researchers report in the July 2001 issue of American Journal of Public Health that men in their 30s who jog at least nine times a month develop a bone density that is at least 5 percent higher than that of men who jog less. The study analyzed answers to questions in a health survey of 4,254 men, including 954 joggers and 3,300 who did not jog. The study included results of hip bone X-rays taken of each of the men to determine bone density. The researchers compared the findings from joggers with results from non-joggers.

Dr. Michael E. Mussolino, a researcher at the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Hyattesville, Md. said the results showed, "The men who were jogging nine times a month were doing much better than those who were jogging only one to eight times a month,' said Mussolino. "Even those who jogged eight or fewer times a month had a higher bone density than those who did not jog at all." He also stated that the study shows that it does not require marathon-like running to build strong bones. "This shows that just a casual frequency of jogging is beneficial."

The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 10 million Americans now have osteoporosis and another 18 million are at risk of the disease due to low bone density. Eighty percent of these people are women. It is estimated that one out of every two women and one in eight men will break a bone as the result of osteoporosis within their lifetime. The report states that building dense strong bones in young adulthood is considered by experts to be an important hedge against osteoporosis, the brittle bone disease that generally develops in later years.