Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Teen farm chores may cause bone problems later

Research at the University of Cincinnati suggests that excessive weight-bearing activities, including squatting, kneeling or lifting, can affect properties of developing bones, ScienceDaily reports. According to a UC news release, the researchers "say this could leave junior farmers more susceptible to degenerative skeletal disorders later in life." (UC photo)

The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of Agromedicine, examined the biochemical properties of developing bones. Researchers were interested in whether or not repetitive high levels of load-bearing activity, such as shoveling chicken feed, would produce changes in bone mass and strength. Results showed that young boys who participated in regular farming activities have significantly lower ability to absorb shock when heels strike the ground.

"We've detected signs that high levels of cumulative weight-bearing activity during a time of rapid growth could cause chronic trauma to bone growth plates," says Dr. Amit Bhattacharya, a professor of environmental health and principal investigator fo the study. "Larger studies are needed to determine the extent of damage, but our initial findings support taking a closer look at how much physical activity farming children are doing and make sure their bone is developing normally for their age." Bhattacharya explains that weight-bearing activities are not bad, but excessive activity in this age group raises concern.

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