, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 595-601
Date: 26 Jun 2003

Awareness and health beliefs of women towards osteoporosis

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A population-based survey was conducted to determine the awareness, knowledge of risk factors, and attitudes toward osteoporosis in middle-aged and elderly women in Singapore. Chinese women aged 45 years and above (n=1,376) living in Teban Gardens (community on the western side of Singapore) were randomly sampled. Household interviews were conducted and questions on socioeconomic status, knowledge of osteoporosis, identification of risk factors for osteoporosis, and health beliefs were assessed. There were 946 (68.8%) women who were postmenopausal and 430 (31.2%) who were not. Fifty-eight percent of the sample had heard of osteoporosis. Women who were younger, better educated, who exercised regularly, or who were single were more likely to have heard of osteoporosis. The main sources of information about osteoporosis were the mass media and friends. The identification of risk factors ranged from fair to good: 85.7% of women identified low calcium intake, 43.7% identified lack of exercise, and 30.5% identified family history of osteoporosis as risk factors for osteoporosis. Most women (79.1%) were concerned about developing osteoporosis but only 15.2% thought that osteoporosis was more serious than cancer. Community-based health education programs on osteoporosis that target a wide audience including the less well educated, could be implemented. Increasing the awareness of osteoporosis and its risk factors may be essential in efforts to decrease the incidence of this disease.