Repeated childhood fractures may result in repeated fractures later in life


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New Zealand (Commonwealth Union) – It is well known that activities in our childhood have a lasting impression in later years, and according to a new study this is likely get a whole new meaning.

A University of Otago study indicates that children breaking bones in childhood could lead to further problems into adulthood. Data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development was utilized for longitudinal research that tracked the health and behavior of over 1000 people born between the years of 1972 to 1973. The study set out to determine if repeated childhood fractures were associated with a future risk of fracture and bone density in adult years.

Lead author Dr Kim Meredith-Jones stated that the study verified that children having over one fracture in childhood had an elevated risk of breaking a bone, or multiple bones, in adulthood. The study further indicated that twice as many girls and boys having repeated fractures in childhood sustained many fractures in later years.

“A quarter of boys and 15 per cent of girls will suffer multiple (two or more) fractures and our results suggests that persistent skeletal fragility can track into early middle age,” said Dr Meredith-Jones. “Both boys and girls who were fracture-free in childhood tended to stay fracture-free in adulthood.”

Other research has attempted to understand if children who sustain a single fracture during childhood have skeletal fragility continue into adulthood. However, this is the first study to show an elevated risk of adult fracture in both males and females having repeated fractures in childhood.

In addition, with female childhood fractures there was a link to lower area bone mineral density at the hip, but that difference was not a factor for males. “There was also a lower childhood fracture rate in females (42 per cent) than in males (54 per cent), which suggests that the determinants of fractures might differ between sexes,” said Dr Meredith-Jones, adding that the findings should be applied to help inform individuals most at risk.


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