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“A Childhood Disease
With Old-Age Consequences”

“It’s been said,” notes Alex Kumbar, franchise owner of OsteoStrong in Durham and Raleigh, “that osteoporosis is ‘a childhood disease with old-age consequences.’  That’s because our bodies build bone in our childhood—an estimated 90 percent of bone mass is developed by the age of 18 for girls, and the age of 20 for boys. But, by our thirties, we typically start losing bone density. And the porous, weak bones that characterize osteoporosis often reflect poor bone development in childhood.”

Alex Kumbar (left) guides a member using one of the four pieces of equipment for osteogenic loading. The computer monitor gives real-time feedback on the amount of force used.

exercise: The Key to Bone Health and Development

Bone is what gives our bodies a structural framework, points out Mr. Kumbar. “And, since exercise is vital to creating more bone tissue, experts agree that getting enough appropriate exercise profoundly shapes a child’s future health.

“In today’s sedentary culture,” he notes, “this becomes a real issue. Children are rapidly become sitters—typically in front of the computer screen, TV, or gaming device—spending more time indoors than outside. And, let’s face it: computer games don’t build bone. For children, that happens with daily exercise and play—in weight-bearing exercises such as running, tennis, dancing, skiing, soccer, and most other sports as well. These activities strengthen both muscles and bones. We know that muscles get stronger the more we use them and so do bones.”

Weight-bearing exercise is important at all ages, Mr. Kumbar points out. “Our bones reach peak density around age 30, but bone is not stagnant, and we are continually undergoing a process of bone remodeling. After the age of 30, most people will lose bone faster than they rebuild it so weight-bearing exercise continues to be important, because at any age you can trigger your body to build more bone than it is breaking down. And building bone during the developmental years is all the more important as a foundation for a healthy life.”

Mr. Kumbar notes that exercise is not the only thing affecting bone health. “Nutrition and other lifestyle factors also contribute to healthy bone metabolism. A well-balanced diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D, is recommended—so check with your doctor if you need to make any nutritional changes. And experts are realizing that being too skinny is unhealthy, as well as being overweight, which is why we’re seeing a spike in diabetes among children. And, of course, smoking is never an option for good health.”

Teen-age Osteoporosis

“Last August I was at the OsteoStrong convention, hearing personal stories from other franchise owners. One of these colleagues reported that his teenage son had broken a bone, and because it was a weird break, and they were worried, they got a scan. They were amazed to learn that their son—at age 13—had osteoporosis.

One OsteoStrong Experience

Diane Miller Mulloy comments on her son’s experience using OsteoStrong:

My son, who is now 19, has done OsteoStrong for three years. His average size during senior year was 175 lbs, 5’11”. Make note: I am not bragging about him as much as about OsteoStrong. He played lacrosse for many years and as a sophomore he was named to state team honors as Face-off Middie, which requires significant strength and quickness.

He decided to play football in his junior year. On his first day of spring training workouts, the strength coach noted, and was shocked, that he was squatting about the same as his long-time football linemen were squatting. He was one of the strongest kids on the team and quickly earned a starting position as defensive linebacker on a team that went to state tournament. During spring training, before his senior year, his one repetition maximum on the chest press went up 50lbs over the previous football season—which is a lot.

He’s always been fast, but his speed increased significantly before his senior year. Of course, he was also lifting with the team and bulking up, but he swore it was OsteoStrong that made the difference. He was elected one of the captains of both his lacrosse and football team, which went to state tournament. He still does OsteoStrong when he is home from college and stays pretty close to his numbers even after long breaks.

“When osteoporosis occurs in children, it’s called secondary osteoporosis. It’s basically the same thing as getting it as an adult—meaning that bones haven’t gotten as strong as they’re supposed to be—but it’s unusual. And it raises questions about the impact of our present lifestyles. Generally speaking, not only do growing kids not help with household labor such as farming—as they did a century ago—but many of our kids’ outdoor activities are curbed for safety reasons. Safety is important, and people should be cautious, but I sometimes wonder if that caution has gone too far, and the protections we put in place—on playgrounds or kids’ activities—might be limiting the healthy outside activities that build bone density.

“At OsteoStrong, we welcome younger teen members. I know of dozens of youth across the US that do OsteoStrong to build themselves up for sports. I can definitely appreciate that you don’t want your kids to get injured playing football or soccer. If they’re playing these sports, they may already have good bone density. And OsteoStrong offers another effective way to help strengthen joints and ligaments, and perhaps lower the risk of rolling an ankle on the soccer field. It also helps muscles and bones become more dense, which will help with taking impacts during football. OsteoStrong is something that young people can use for injury prevention, rounding out their training regimen nicely if they’re already doing sports at high school or club level.”

Special Equipment

OsteoStrong uses special equipment to put pressure on bones to trigger the bone-building response, Mr. Kumbar explains. “There are four pieces of equipment, each focused on a different part of the body. By pushing, pulling, or lifting against each machine, you apply the necessary levels of pressure to improve bone density and strength. At any given moment the equipment will tell you how much force you’re using, so you get real-time feedback. The whole process—working on all four pieces of equipment—takes about 15 minutes, once a week.

“It’s exciting to see the benefits that OsteoStrong provides for athletes—helping them breakthrough performance plateaus while reducing the chance of injury—because they have stronger, healthier bones and joints. If you’re training for a competition, osteogenic loading will help unleash your body’s full potential. It puts all users on the path to attain their ideal body.”