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The cumulative risk of fracture for a postmenopausal woman over the age of 50 years can reach up to 60%. Exercise has the potential to modify fracture risk in postmenopausal women through its effects on bone mass and geometry [1]. To determine the magnitude of these effects in postmenopausal women, Hamilton and colleagues have performed a systematic literature review looking for studies which used peripheral quantitative computed tomography (p-QCT) as the method of assessment [2]. The QCT-based techniques correlate well with the geometry, biomechanics and strength of bones and may predict fracture risk. Of 293 publications screened, only 12 were included in the final analysis (four randomized, controlled trials, one non-randomized trial, three cross-sectional studies and four prospective cohort studies). Their main finding was that exercise appeared to positively influence bone mass and bone geometry in postmenopausal women; however, exercise effects seemed to be modest, site-specific and preferentially influence cortical rather than trabecular components of bone. Exercise type also played a role, with the most prominent mass and geometric changes being observed in response to high-impact loading exercise.


  • Bari Kaplan
    Beilinson Womens Hospital, Rabin Medical Center and Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine, Israel


  1. Feskanich D, Willett W, Colditz G. Walking and leisure-time activity and risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women. JAMA 2002;288:2300-6.
  2. Hamilton CJ, Swan VJ, Jamal SA. The effects of exercise and physical activity participation on bone mass and geometry in postmenopausal women: a systematic review of pQCT studies. Osteoporos Int 2009 Jun 6 [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Guadalupe-Grau A, Fuentes T, Guerra B, Calbet JA. Exercise and bone mass in adults. Sports Med 2009;39:439-68.
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