Knowledge of risk factors and prevention of osteoporosis: the Israeli women’s health at midlife study
Wide disparities in knowledge of risk factors and prevention of osteoporosis were demonstrated among midlife Israeli minority women (Arabs and immigrants from the former USSR) compared to Jewish long-time residents. Women who believed osteoporosis to be a serious disease and those who felt susceptible to it reported better knowledge.
The main goals of this study were to assess knowledge of risk factors and preventive measures for osteoporosis in middle-aged women and to evaluate the relationship of knowledge to personal risk factors and personal perceptions about osteoporosis.
Face-to-face interviews with women aged 45–64 years were conducted during 2004–2006 within three population groups: long-term Jewish residents (LTJRs), immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and Arab women. The survey instrument included five knowledge statements related to the risk after menopause, the risk of smoking, family history of fractures, decreased risk by physical activity, and by use of medications.
The findings indicated wide disparities in knowledge about risk factors and preventive behavior of osteoporosis between the two minority groups (immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Arab women) and the majority group of midlife Israeli women. Knowledge of osteoporosis was related to perceived severity of the disease and partly to perceived susceptibility to osteoporosis. Past diagnosis of osteoporosis, current or past smoking status, and BMI were unrelated to knowledge in multivariate analyses.
There is a need to improve knowledge of osteoporosis especially among less educated and minority women. Subjective perception of risk was more strongly related to knowledge than actual risk factors and should be targeted in public campaigns. The efforts should be aimed at strengthening women’s perception of their own susceptibility to osteoporosis and of the severity of this disease.
KeywordsOsteoporosis prevention Midlife women Israel Ethnicity Immigrants
The Women’s Health at Midlife Study (WHMS) was funded by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy (Grant 63/02).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
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