It is never too early to start investing in your children’s health. Getting your kids to perform daily physical activities also reduces their risk of having fractures as they get older, TIME reports.

Researchers from the Skane University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden, followed 808 children between ages seven and nine years old. The children were asked to do regular physical activity in school for 40 minutes each day. Meanwhile, a similarly-sized group was asked to do 60 minutes of physical activity in school a week.

At the end of the study, researchers found that the group who had approximately 200 minutes of exercise a week reported 72 fracture cases, while the control group who had only 60 minutes of exercise a week reported 143 fracture cases. According to the report, the discrepancy has something to do with children’s physiological development; active children showed greater bone density in the spine than their non-active peers. Having high bone density is beneficial as bones naturally become brittle with age, making them more prone to breaks and fractures.

“According to our study, exercise interventions in childhood may be associated with lower fracture risks as people age, due to the increases in peak bone mass that occurs in growing children who perform regular physical activity,” lead author Dr. Bjorn Rosengren concludes.

(Photo by whiz-ka via Flickr Creative Commons)

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