Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving exercise therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis were included. There was also one study with only one group of patients (no details of the study design were provided).
Specific interventions included in the review
The following exercise regimes were included: regular walking both above and below the anaerobic threshold; brisk walking; aerobic exercises both alone and with strengthening exercise; intensive resistance exercise; regular resistance exercise; weight-bearing exercise; high-intensity weight-bearing exercise; low- and high-impact exercises; progressive, including high-intensity, weight training; jogging; individualised trunk resistive exercise; regular training of the psoas muscle; regular training of the deltoid muscle; upper limb exercises; undefined exercise; low-intensity non-loading exercise; and no exercise controls.
Regimes with and without concomitant drug therapies were included. Concomitant drug therapy included oestrogen (0.625 mg/day), oestrogen and progesterone replacements, placebo, and calcium supplements. The intervention periods ranged from 7 months to 4 years.
Participants included in the review
The groups of female participants included were: postmenopausal women; young healthy women; premenopausal women, including those who were sedentary; physically active women aged at least 60 years; women who had had a hysterectomy; elderly women; women with risk factors for osteoporosis; and women of all ages who had fractured an upper limb in the previous 2 years.
The postmenopausal group included the following: sedentary women, ; the elderly; those more than 10 years postmenopausal; those aged 60 to 73 years; those suffering from back pain; those with low bone mass; and those with low bone density.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The following outcomes were assessed in the primary studies: bone density; bone mass of the trunk and upper thighs; strength of back extensor muscle; muscle strength; calcium homeostasis; back pain; back pain intensity; cardiovascular performance; dynamic balance; functional fitness; well-being; and the number of falls.
Bone density measurements included the radius, forearm, non-dominant forearm, spine, lumbar spine, femoral neck, proximal femur, hip sites, and tibial site.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The author does not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many of the reviewers performed the selection.