Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide, yet many are unaware they are at risk. The disease has been called the silent epidemic because bone loss occurs without symptoms and the disease is often first diagnosed after a fracture. Osteoporosis is more common in women, but men also develop it, usually after age 65. Young men who play volleyball, basketball or other load-bearing sports for 4 hours a week or more may gain protection from developing osteoporosis later in life. Men who increased their load-bearing activity from age 19-24 not only developed more bone, but also had larger bones compared to men who were sedentary during the same period. Bigger bones with more mass are thought to offer a shield against osteoporosis.
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, May 2012