Category: Patient and Public Education
Background: Osteoporosis is a crippling disease that often results in premature mortality and significant morbidity and manifests itself in the forms of fractures, bone deformity and pain. Patient and public education efforts to promote osteoprotective behaviors are often delivered through theory-based programs.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare bone density levels and osteoporosis behaviors of middle-aged women immediately after an intervention and two years later at follow up.
Methods: A one-group pretest-posttest design was utilized. Women (n=342) participated in the original theory-based program. Women with low readings (n=162) were invited to return two years later to examine their progress. Hip, spine and total body bone density testing was conducted using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Valid and reliable surveys to assess osteoporosis knowledge, attitudes and behaviors were administered following the program and at follow up. T-test procedures were conducted using Statistical Analysis System version 9.1.
Results: The mean age was 49 years. From intervention to follow-up, bone mineral density levels remained steady with no significant differences, a desirable outcome. Osteoporosis knowledge, calcium supplement use, and total calcium intake significantly improved from post to follow up.
Implications: The effectiveness of patient and public education may be enhanced by theory-based educational interventions that assist women to practice osteoprotective lifestyle behaviors not only in the short term but also in the long term. Results of the current study offer encouragement for maintaining bone density levels and preventing fractures.
Professor of Health Science
The University of Alabama