COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC:

Get the latest research information from NIH: Menu

Physical Activity, Calcium, and Bone in Children

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00000415
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : November 4, 1999
Last Update Posted : June 4, 2013
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Information provided by:
South Dakota State University

Brief Summary:
Doctors recommend that young children participate in daily physical activity to promote bone health. However, studies in adults show that physical activity and increased calcium intake cause noticeable benefits for bone health only when both factors occur together. The goal of this study is to find out whether calcium intake changes the response of bone to activity in children 3 to 4 years old. Children will participate in one of two programs conducted in childcare centers 5 days a week for 1 year. One program will involve activities that use large muscles (gross motor activity). The other will involve activities using small muscles (fine motor activity). We will give a calcium supplement (1 gram per day) to half of the children in each program and give the other half an inactive pill. We will measure bone mass and bone mineral density at the beginning and end of the study. We will take measurements 12 months after the program's completion to see if physical activity and/or calcium supplements have long-term effects on bone mineral density and physical activity.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Physical Activity Nutrition Procedure: Physical activity Drug: Calcium supplement Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Participation in daily physical activity programs by young children is currently recommended as a means of promoting bone health. Results from studies of adults indicate that beneficial effects of either physical activity or calcium (Ca) intake may be apparent only when both these factors are present. Our results in infants indicate that physical activity combined with a low Ca diet may be detrimental in terms of bone mass accretion. The overall objective of this study is to determine whether Ca intake modifies the bone response to activity in young children 3 to 4 years of age.

Our hypotheses are that (1) the increase in bone mass resulting from a physical activity program will be more pronounced in children randomized to receive a Ca supplement compared to the increase in children randomized to receive a placebo; and (2) 12 months after cessation of the activity program, bone mass will remain higher in children randomized to gross motor activity compared to children randomized to fine motor activity, and the beneficial effect of Ca supplementation will persist only among children randomized to gross motor activity. We will test these hypotheses in a randomized 2 x 2 factorial trial in 3- to 4-year-old children. We will randomize children into either a gross motor or fine motor activity program that will be conducted in childcare centers 5 days a week for 1 year. We will further randomize each child into either a Ca supplement (1 g/d) or placebo group.

The primary outcomes of the study are bone mass accretion and changes in bone mineral density, which we will determine by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry at the beginning and end of the study. We will do activity assessments throughout the study period to determine whether participation in the gross motor activity group also increases spontaneous activity in these children. Anthropometric measurements and dietary information will allow us to statistically control for these potential confounders. We will obtain additional bone mass and physical activity measurements 12 months after completion of the program to determine if these interventions have long-term effects on bone mineral density and physical activity.

A finding of beneficial effects of Ca supplementation or physical activity, either independent of each other or in combination, will lay the groundwork for devising prevention strategies within the educational system that optimize bone health beginning early in life. However, we may find that increased physical activity in the presence of a low to moderate Ca intake may have a detrimental effect on bone mass accretion during periods of rapid growth.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Enrollment : 224 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Double
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Calcium Modifies Bone Response to Activity in Children
Study Start Date : April 1998
Actual Primary Completion Date : February 2003
Actual Study Completion Date : March 2003

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   3 Years to 4 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Enrolled in participating childcare center.
  • Does not plan to attend kindergarten or withdraw from center in the next 12 months.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Chronic disease that may interfere with growth and bone mass accretion (cystic fibrosis, liver disease, asthma that is being treated with steroids, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, immobilization).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00000415

Layout table for location information
United States, South Dakota
South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota, United States, 57007
Sponsors and Collaborators
South Dakota State University
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: Bonny Specker, PhD South Dakota State University
Layout table for additonal information Identifier: NCT00000415    
Other Study ID Numbers: R01AR045310 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
R01AR045310 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: November 4, 1999    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: June 4, 2013
Last Verified: June 2013
Keywords provided by South Dakota State University:
Physical activity
Bone mass accretion
Bone mineral density (BMD)
Bone response to activity and calcium supplements
Bone growth
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Calcium-Regulating Hormones and Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs