More Information

Rebecca Scott (Media Unit): 0417 164 791

An Australian first study to reduce falls and improve the bone density in older Australians is being run by the University of Melbourne’s Department of Medicine based at the Western Hospital.

The unique study Osteo-cise: Strong Bones for Life combines health education, behavioural modification strategies and high velocity power training to improve bone strength and reduce the incidence of falls and fractures in older Australians.

“The majority of studies that have used exercise to improve bone health report positive changes, but following completion of the study bone density tends to decrease back towards baseline levels, “says project coordinator Dr Christine Bailey of the Department of Medicine at Western Hospital.

“In this study we are trying to empower people with new behaviours and knowledge so they don’t relapse into old habits and hence increase the likelihood of falls and fractures, “.

A unique aspect of the Osteo-cise program is that the resistance training is performed at high velocity, i.e. power training.

“Power training has been shown to have a greater benefit on muscle function and bone health than conventional strength training, but until now no study has prescribed this type of training for older adults, “Dr Bailey says.

According to statistics, almost 2.5 million Australians have Osteoporosis and as many as four out five people with Osteoporosis do not know they have it.

In 2007, one Australian was admitted to hospital with an osteoporotic fracture every 5.5 minutes. This rate is projected to increase to one fracture every 3.5 minutes by 2021 if current trends continue.

One year after a hip fracture, 80 percent of people cannot undertake at least one of their daily tasks and alarmingly in 2007, 20 percent of people died within one year of fracturing their hip.

More than 80 participants are needed to participate in the second stage of the study.

Participants will need to attend a gym for 12 months training three times a week, under supervision of a qualified exercise trainer once a week. In addition personal strategies to improve lifestyle behaviours will be developed for all participants. Participants will also need to attend quarterly educational seminars to improve their knowledge and awareness of bone health.

Bone density testing, muscle strength and function testing is conducted every six months.