Physical activity, particularly weight-bearing exercise, is thought to provide the mechanical stimuli or “loading” important for the maintenance and improvement of bone health, whereas physical inactivity has been implicated in bone loss and its associated health costs.
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The human skeletal system is a complex organ in constant equilibrium with the rest of the body. In addition to support and structure of the body, bone is the major reservoir for many minerals and compounds essential for maintaining a healthy pH balance. The deterioration of the body with age renders the elderly particularly susceptible to and affected by poor bone health. Illnesses like osteoporosis, characterized by weakening of the bone’s structural matrix, increases the risk of hip-fractures and other life-changing secondary symptoms. In 2010, over 258,000 people aged 65 and older were admitted to the hospital for hip fractures. Incidence of hip fractures is expected to rise by 12% in America, with a projected 289,000 admissions in the year 2030. Other sources estimate up to 1.5 million Americans will have an osteoporotic-related fracture each year. The cost of treating these people is also enormous, in 1991 Medicare spent an estimated $2.9 billion for treatment and out-patient care of hip fractures, this number can only be expected to rise.
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