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Preemie Birth Could Mean Weaker Bones as Adults

Small babies at risk for osteoporosis decades later, study finds

TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who were born preterm with a very low birth weight have significantly lower bone mineral density than those who were born at full term, a Finnish study has found.

The researchers evaluated the skeletal health of 144 adults, aged 18 to 27, who were born preterm with very low birth weight.

Because they have much lower bone mineral density, these adults may be at increased risk for osteoporosis, said Dr. Petteri Hovi and colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki.

The study appears online Aug. 24 in the journal PLoS Medicine.

While osteoporosis cannot be cured, there are steps that can help prevent the bone-thinning disease, according to the U.S. National Osteoporosis Foundation, which include:

  • Getting the daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Including weight-bearing exercise in your daily routine.
  • Don't smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Ask your health-care provider about your bone health.
  • If recommended, have a bone density test and follow your doctor's advice.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about bone health.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Public Library of Science, news release, Aug. 24, 2009

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