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.