Calcium and Exercise Affect the Growing Skeleton


Department of Foods and Nutrition, 1264 Stone Hall, 700 W. State Street, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907–2059; Phone: 765–494–8237; Fax: 765–494–0674; E-mail:


Adequate dietary calcium and bone-stimulating exercise during growth are known to affect skeletal development, but the combined effects of dietary calcium and osteogenic exercise have received scant attention. Animal research has showed a compensatory effect of impact loading on calcium-deprived bones, while various human studies have suggested compensatory, additive, or possibly synergistic effects in certain skeletal locations. Current evidence suggests that the best strategy for strong bones by the end of childhood may be either high-impact exercise with a moderate or greater calcium intake or a combination of moderate-impact exercise and adequate calcium during growth.