“Bone strength and size is important because they are significant factors in long-term osteoporosis and fracture risk,” said lead investigator Dr. Rebecca Moon, of the University of Southampton in England.
“A 10 percent increase in peak bone mass will delay the onset of osteoporosis by 13 years. These findings point to the importance of early childhood physical activity to optimize muscle and bone growth,” she said in a university news release.
For the study, the researchers assessed 200 British children soon after birth and again when they were 6 to 7 years old, and found a link between higher amounts of lean muscle and healthy bone development.
The connection between lean muscle and bone development was stronger in girls than in boys.
There was no association between fat and bone development, suggesting that fat is not an important factor in children’s bone health, the researchers said.
The study was published recently in the journal Bone.