, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 377-388

Osteoporosis Prevention: Knowledge and Behavior in a Southwestern Community

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Prior to developing an osteoporosis prevention education program and social marketing campaign, we sought to (a) establish current status of osteoporosis-related knowledge and behavior among women aged 25–55 years in Maricopa County, Arizona, and (b) assess factors that segment the population by age and ethnicity. Two-hundred women were surveyed by telephone using random-digit dialing selection. Data demonstrated knowledge of need to consume adequate calcium, but mixed understanding of forms of exercise that help prevent osteoporosis. Knowledge of osteoporosis prevention did not differ as a function of menopause status. Differences for Hispanic versus non-Hispanic women's knowledge showed fewer correct responses for Hispanics for dietary and physical activity questions, and more correct responses on the relationship between body weight and osteoporosis risk. Hispanic women and post-menopausal women generally fit the pattern of higher risk behaviors with Hispanic women exercising and using HRT less and postmenopausal women reporting lower calcium intake and physical activity and more tobacco use. Hispanic women appeared to have similar intake of dietary calcium despite lower levels of milk products. Social marketing campaigns for osteoporosis prevention should be segmented for cultural and age differences, especially considering differences in orientations toward exercise, milk consumption, and competing emphasis on other diseases.