Physical activity plays an important role in the maintenance of bone health. For the purpose of this entry, bone health will refer specifically to the prevention of osteoporosis and not to other diseases of the skeletal system. Risk of osteoporosis increases when there is a loss of mineral from bones, causing them to become more porous and fragile. Some loss of mineral from bone is expected with aging, but the rate at which the loss occurs is accelerated by factors such as physical inactivity and the decline in estrogen levels in women. Bone mineral density (BMD), which can be measured by a simple clinical test called a DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan, is the best predictor of the risk of osteoporotic fracture. The diagnosis of ...

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