[Article Source: Medical News Today, Image Source: iStockPhoto]
Study shows that a twice daily program of assisted range-of-motion exercises provides significant benefits for bone strength, potentially decreasing the risk of low bone density and future fractures in very low birth weight pre-term infants.
Because of their low weight and premature birth, very low birth weight (VLBW) pre-term infants have lower bone mineral mass and a greater need for bone nutrients compared to most new-born infants. This places them at greater risk of osteopenia (low bone density) and fractures in later life.
While efforts to prevent osteopenia of prematurity have focused on nutritional therapy via intravenous or tube feeding, these, and other major advances in postnatal intensive care, have been only partially successful in improving improving the bone mineral mass of VLBW preterm infants. More recently, various studies have shown that the use of physical activity interventions – comprising a daily program of passive range-of-motion-assisted exercise of the large joints – have promising protective effects for bone strength and metabolism.