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Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study

About the Study

The Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study was started in 1991 with the aim of investigating bone mineral accumulation in growing children. The original sample included 228 elementary school children of which over 140 are still actively involved. Measurements include DXA body scans, anthropometry (height, weight), physical activity and diet data with more recent additions of pQCT bone scans and blood analysis. As a longitudinal design, study measurements are ongoing and the fall of 2016 marks the 25th year of the study and the 16th wave of measurements. With over 1500 measurement occasions, this study has produced considerable amounts of growth data and provided insight into the patterns of bone and soft tissue development and the ways in which these patterns are affected by physical activity and nutrition.

For the instructions on how to get ready for the onsite assessment and how to get to your appointment, read the information in How to Get Ready For the Study and Your Appointment expander tabs (Note that expander tabs are not accessible from the mobile website, please switch to the desktop to view the information). For detailed instructions on how to use RedCap to complete the online questionnaires and schedule your appointment, watch the video below.

A longitudinal study of the relationship of physical activity to bone mineral accrual from adolescence to young adulthood (Adam DG Baxter-Jones, 2008)

There is a strong evidence to support that physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves bone mass acquisition. However, it was unclear if such benefit continues into adult years. This connection can only be established with longitudinal studies that follow their subject from childhood through adult years. One of such researches is The University of Saskatchewan's Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study. The study collected data on 154 participants with entry ages ranging from 8 to 15 years, and who had returned for follow-up measures as young adults. Participants were grouped in to one of three adolescent physical activity groups: active, average or inactive. Bone mineral content (BMC; indicating the amount and strength of bone) was measured annually. As a result, the PBMAS findings not only confirmed the evidence that physical activity has a positive effects on bone during the growing years, but also found that these advantages continue into young adulthood. (Read the full article)

Bone mineral accrual from 8 to 30 years of age: An estimation of peak bone mass (Adam DG Baxter-Jones, 2011)

Previous research has established a link between the gain of bone mass in early life and the risk of development of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is essentially the weakening of bone due to age related loss of bone mass. The Saskatchewan Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study (PBMAS) is able to contribute unique research in this area, due to its mixed longitudinal design – data collected on the same people over 25 years. As such, researchers are able to track the amount of bone laid down and subsequently lost over the lifespan. The following article gives a brief overview of the PBMAS and presents the results of the study. Findings from this study show that the most substantial increase in bone mass happens in up to 5 years surrounding the adolescent growth spurt (11.8 years in females and 13.5 years in males). After that, significantly smaller quantity of bone mass is gained until the late twenties or very early thirties. This tells us that childhood and adolescence are the most critical times for bone mineral accumulation. In fact the bone mass gained during this time is double the amount that will be lost in late adulthood. As such, optimizing gains during growth would allow for a higher starting point at which bone loss begins, leading to a lower risk of development of osteoporosis. (Read the full article)

For general information about how to get to College of Kinesiology, what to do before and after the study or what to expect during it, visit the page for Research Volunteers.

DXA Scan

Ensure that you wear no jewelry or zippers for the DXA scan.

Fasting Glucose and Insulin Test Preparation

No food or drink other than water for 10 hours before your test. Please take note and tell the researcher or phlebotomist taking your blood if you are on any medications (prescription, over-the-counter or herbal supplements) including:

  • acetaminophen
  • corticosteroids
  • steroids
  • diuretics
  • birth control pills
  • hormone therapy
  • aspirin
  • atypical antipsychotics
  • lithium
  • epinephrine
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • sulfonylurea medications

To schedule your appointment, go to To shorten the duration of your appointment, please ensure that you complete the online questionnaires prior to it. The link to the questionnaires is provided to you in the initial invitation letter.

Your appointment will take place in two parts  the first at the Williams building and the second at the Physical Activity Complex (PAC). Tests taking place at the Williams building will include height, weight and waist circumference measures, blood pressure, blood sample draw (after which a snack will be provided) and the DEXA body scan. From the Williams building you will proceed to the PAC. The specific room will be provided to you before you leave the Williams. Tests taking place at the PAC included spectrophotography scan for vitamin D, dietary recall questionnaire, any other questionnaires not completed online, grip strength, vertical jump and pQCT bone scan. Your appointment will last between 2 and 3.5 hours. Less time is required if questionnaires are completed online.

Please arrive on time for your appointment and allow yourself a few minutes to find parking and locate the entrance to the Williams (see map and directions). Please pay special attention to the fasting glucose and insulin preparation as without proper fasting, the blood results will be inaccurate.

If you have any questions before, during or after your appointment please do not hesitate to contact the PBMAS coordinator Erin Barbour-Tuck (306-230-1663;

Directions to the Williams Building

We are located in room #108. You can find us by coming to the RJD Williams Building (formerly the School for the Deaf, 221 Cumberland Ave). There is paid parking available at the back of the building or for free on the street in front of the building. The easiest way to get to the gym is to go around to the back of the building and go into the first single door on the right. There is a black sign on that door that says "north-east tower". Once inside go down the stairs and go through the door on the left.

Williams Building
221 Cumberland Ave N.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan