Two hundred and sixty-six women who have completed the Bone, Estrogen, Strength Training (BEST) Study at the University of Arizona College of Medicine will be honored at an end-of-study celebration on Saturday, Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Doubletree Hotel. All BEST participants and their families are invited to attend the event and learn the study results.
The event is sponsored by Mission Pharmacal, who supplied calcium supplements for the BEST study. The most extensive study of its kind in the United States, the BEST study began in 1995 to examine how strength training exercise and estrogen-replacement therapy affect postmenopausal women's risk of osteoporosis. Two hundred and sixty-six Tucson-area women, ages 45-65, who were three to 10 years postmenopausal, participated in the study over the five-year period.
"The study was proposed in response to the seriousness of osteoporosis among older adult women, the rapidly increasing population of older adult women and the limited knowledge about osteoporosis prevention and treatment," says Timothy G. Lohman, Ph.D., professor in the UA College of Medicine Department of Physiology and the study's principal investigator. Each year, more than 1.2 million osteoporosis-related bone fractures in the United States result in hospitalization and the loss of independence and mobility for women.
The BEST study results conclude that the most effective prevention program for osteoporosis is a combination of weight-bearing and weight-lifting exercise with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and calcium. Exercise without HRT also showed positive results, although the combination of exercise, HRT and calcium is the most successful at maintaining or increasing bone mineral density. Study investigators will continue to track the participants to observe the long-term effects of exercise on fracture risk in post-menopausal women.
Funded by a grant from the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, the study was a cooperative effort by the UA College of Medicine Department of Physiology, UA Department of Nutritional Sciences, UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, UA College of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine, UA College of Public Health, University Medical Center Wellness Program, Fitness & Health Institute of Tucson (FIT), Naturally Women Fitness Centers, Metro Fitness and Mission Pharmacal of San Antonio, Texas.