Teenage girls who smoke are more susceptible to osteoporosis, according to new research from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The study focused on adolescent girls as they progressed through their teens, as this is when 50% of bone accrual occurs. The study aimed to determine the impact of smoking, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and alcohol use on bone accrual in this population.
The study enrolled 262 healthy girls from the Cincinnati area in age groups of 11, 13, 15, and 17 years. Over a 3-year period, the girls received annual clinical exams at which time measurements were taken for total body bone mineral content and bone mineral density. The girls additionally self-reported how often they smoked or used alcohol and any symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Researchers concluded that high-frequency smoking was associated with a lower rate of lumbar spine and total hip bone mineral density.
“To our knowledge this is the first longitudinal study to test and demonstrate that smoking by girls, as well as symptoms of depression, have a negative impact on bone accrual during adolescence,” said Lorah Dorn, PhD, principal investigator and director of research in the division of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children’s. “As much bone is accrued in the 2 years surrounding a girl’s first menstrual cycle as is lost in the last four decades of life.”
Researchers noted the study should be followed up with additional research to include a broader geographic area and races other than black and white girls. They also noted that the study fell below the recommended national guidelines for calcium intake and physical activity, and that the findings may not generalize to girls who meet those standards.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Center for Research Resources at NIH, and the Bureau of Health Professionals at the Department of Health and Human Services funded the study.