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Smoking in teen girls can ruin bone health

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Make no bones about it--smoking is incredibly detrimental to a young person's mental and physical development.

And parents of teen girls who smoke may have another reason to help them quit: osteoporosis.

Smoking away bone health

A study from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found that smoking in female teenagers prevents the accumulation of bone mass during a period when bone growth is critical.

"As much bone is accrued in the two years surrounding a girl's first menstrual cycle as is lost in the last four decades of life," said Lorah Dorn, PhD, principal investigator and director of research in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Cincinnati Children's.

Studying 261 11 to 19-year-old girls, Researchers found that smoking seemed to have the biggest impact on the hips and the lumbar region of the spine. Bone mass seemed to be the same for all girls around the age of 13, regardless of whether or not they smoked. But as the girls got older, smokers were found to have a lower bone mass accumulation.

The study also found that higher depressive symptoms were common in the girls that smoked.

A growing problem for girls

Dorn notes that declining bone health is a growing problem across the nation, but that girls are particularly at risk--50 percent of bone accrual happens in adolescence.

"Osteoporosis is a costly health problem affecting an estimated 10 million Americans, with an additional 34 million considered at risk. To our knowledge this is the first longitudinal study to test and demonstrate that smoking by girls, as well as symptoms of depression, have a negative impact on bone accrual during adolescence."

Researchers note follow-up studies that included more races of girls--this one included just white and African American participants--and a bigger geographical range would be helpful.

Source: Science Daily