Osteoporosis knowledge and health beliefs among middle-aged men and women in the Southern United States

Stacy Chelf, PhD, MS; Robert E. Davis, PhD; Martha A. Bass, PhD; M. Allison Ford, PhD; Ali D. Firouzabadi, MD, MPH; Jonathan T. Leo, PhD; and Vinayak K. Nahar, MD, PhD, MS
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: January 12, 2022

Accepted: April 8, 2022

Published: May 3, 2022

  • Stacy Chelf, PhD, MS, 

    DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University, Knoxville, TN, USA

  • Robert E. Davis, PhD, 

    Substance Use and Mental Health Laboratory, Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA

  • Martha A. Bass, PhD, 

    Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, School of Applied Sciences, University of Mississippi, University, MS, USA

  • M. Allison Ford, PhD, 

    Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, School of Applied Sciences, University of Mississippi, University, MS, USA

  • Ali D. Firouzabadi, MD, MPH, 

    Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine/John D. Bower School of Population Health, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA

  • Jonathan T. Leo, PhD, 

    Department of Anatomy, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dothan, AL, USA

  • Vinayak K. Nahar, MD, PhD, MS, 

    Department of Clinical Research, School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA

J Osteopath Med; 122(9): 453-459

Context: The most common skeletal disease, osteoporosis, causes bone fragility due to decreased bone mass and bone microarchitecture destruction. The health belief model is often applied to asymptomatic, prevention-related diseases such as osteoporosis. Steps to mitigate the insidious nature of osteoporosis, including education, motivation, and monitoring of bone mineral density, must begin at an earlier age.

Objectives: This study evaluates the knowledge and health beliefs surrounding osteoporosis in a population of males and females 35–50 years old to determine sex-based differences in osteoporosis knowledge and beliefs and to assess the correlation between perceptions and health motivation.

Methods: Participants (81 males, 92 females) completed two questionnaires: the Osteoporosis Knowledge Test and the Osteoporosis Health Belief Scale. Descriptive statistics were performed along with Pearson product-moment correlation analysis to determine the relationships between the variables. Sex-based differences were calculated utilizing independent t-tests.

Results: We discovered a statistically significant negative correlation between the barriers to exercise and health motivation (−0.434, p < 0.001) and a statistically significant positive correlation between the benefits of exercise and health motivation (0.385, p < 0.001). However, there was not a statistically significant correlation between health motivation with the following: the benefits of calcium, susceptibility, and the seriousness of osteoporosis. Between males and females, there was a statistically significant difference in exercise and calcium knowledge, susceptibility, and the benefits of both exercise and calcium (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Males and females 35–50 years old perceive themselves to have a low susceptibility to osteoporosis. They do not consider osteoporosis a serious disease and have little motivation to mitigate its inception or progression. Their perceptions show that barriers to exercise impact health motivation more than the perceived benefits of exercise.

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