A prospective study to determine if regular leisure-time physical activity (including recreational walking) is associated with fracture risk was conducted in a large cohort (N = 3110) of free-living elderly men and women in the retirement community of Dunedin, Florida. Sixty-three percent of the cohort was female, all were white, and the average age was 73.0 years ± 5.3 (SD). Participants in regular physical activity at baseline had a reduced risk of fracture; the risk ratio (RR) of fracture for men and women, respectively, was RR = 0.41, 95% CI = 0.17 to 1.01 and RR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.50 to 1.15. Walking at least one mile 3 times/week appeared to offer a protective effect for both sexes. After controlling for potentially confounding variables including body mass and selected health conditions, the RR for regular physical activity on fracture incidence in men and women remained essentially unchanged. We conclude that regular physical activity such as walking may protect against fracture in older persons.
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