Dr Feitong Wu 

Recipient: Dr Feitong Wu
Intended department: Jointly funded by the  Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and the ARA- The University of  Tasmania


Early Life Strategies for improving fracture risk factors throughout life


Older people who sustain a bone fracture have increased risk of becoming disabled, dying early and having lower quality of life. Stronger bone and lower risk of falls are important for prevention fractures before they happen. The overall aim of my project is to find ways to start reducing risk of fractures much earlier in the life span – in children and middle-aged adults, to prevent fractures throughout life.  We are doing this using three studies. The first study will use vitamin D research data from around the world to answer the question of whether giving supplements of vitamin D improves bone density in children who are vitamin D deficient (i.e. higher bone density indicates stronger bones). The second study will determine whether bone development in adults is affected by experiences in the womb and as infants (e.g. breastfeeding, smoking during pregnancy, diet during pregnancy and birth weight) and during childhood (e.g. diet, physical activity and fitness, and vitamin D levels). The third study will test whether middle-aged women who had better balance and stronger leg muscle strength had a lower risk of falls five years later.

These unique studies will: (1) answer whether supplements of vitamin D are effective in improving bone density in children with low levels of vitamin D, (2) identify which early life factors affect bone development in adults and (3) identify risk factors for falls in middle-aged adults. We anticipate that these studies will provide critical information on strategies during early to mid-life to help prevent falls and bone fractures throughout life.