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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

University at Buffalo: Study: The Association Between Physical Activity, Lower Risk of Fracture

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

Published in JAMA Network Open, the study is the most comprehensive evaluation of physical activity and fracture incidence in older women. 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 — 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 is one more among several papers using data from the Women’s Health Initiative and published by University at Buffalo researchers within the past few years that highlights the health benefits of being active, even at levels that are lower than the current physical activity guidelines.

“These findings provide evidence that fracture reduction is among the many positive attributes of regular physical activity in older women,” said Dr. Jean Wactawski-Wende, study co-author and dean of the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions. “Modest activities, including walking, can significantly reduce the risk of fracture, which can, in turn, lower the risk of death,” she said.

The main message, says study first author Dr. Michael LaMonte, research associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at UB, is “sit less, move more, and every movement counts.”

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