OBJECTIVE: Increasing physical activity (PA) is regularly cited as a modifiable target to improve health outcomes and quality of life in the aging population, especially postmenopausal women who exhibit low bone mineral density (BMD) and high fracture risk. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to quantify real-world PA and its association with BMD in postmenopausal women. METHODS: Seventy postmenopausal women, aged 46 to 79 years, received a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan measuring total hip BMD and wore bilateral triaxial accelerometers on the ankles for 7 days to measure PA in their free-living environment. Custom step detection and peak vertical ground reaction force estimation algorithms, sensitive to both quantity and intensity of PA, were used to calculate a daily bone density index (BDI) for each participant. Multiple regression was used to quantify the relationship between total hip BMD, age, step counts, and mean BDI over the span of 7 days of data collection. RESULTS: All participants completed the full 7 days of PA monitoring, totaling more than 7 million detected steps. Participants averaged 14,485 ± 4,334 steps daily with mean peak vertical ground reaction force stepping loads of 675 ± 121 N during daily living. Across the population, total hip BMD was found to be significantly correlated with objective estimates of mean BDI (r = 0.44), as well as participant age (r = 0.285). CONCLUSION: Despite having higher-than-expected PA, the low stepping loads observed in this cohort, along with half of the participants having low BMD measures, underscores the need for PA intensity to be considered in the management of postmenopausal bone health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology