New research finds association between physical activity, lower risk of fracture


Regular physical activity, including lighter intensity activities such as walking, may be associated with reduced risk of hip and total fracture in postmenopausal women, according to new research from the University at Buffalo and published in JAMA Network Open.  

The study included more than 77,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative, who were followed up over 14 years. During follow-up, 33 percent of participants reported experiencing at least one fracture.

The women who did the highest amount of physical activity, which was approximately 35 minutes or more of daily recreational and household activities, had an 18 percent lower risk of hip fracture and 6 percent lower risk of total fracture, the study said.

The researchers note that approximately 1.5 million fractures occur in U.S. women each year, creating $12.7 billion in health care costs. About 14 percent of these fractures are in the hip. Mortality after a hip fracture is as high as 20 percent.

Non-recreation physical activity, including yardwork and household chores such as sweeping the floors or folding laundry, was also inversely associated with several types of fracture, researchers said.

The research has important implications for public health, considering that these lighter intensity activities are common among older adults, and the main message, according to Michael LaMonte, PhD, first author of the study, is "sit less, move more, and every movement counts.”