Archives of Osteoporosis

, 14:8 | Cite as

Osteoporosis knowledge and awareness among university students in Saudi Arabia

  • Jalaluddin A. Khan
  • Fiona E. McGuigan
  • Kristina E. Akesson
  • Y. M. Ahmed
  • Faiza Abdu
  • Hussam Rajab
  • Mai AlbaikEmail author
Original Article



Awareness and knowledge about any disease is the first step to prevent and treat it, so this study evaluates osteoporosis awareness and knowledge in university students. Our results showed a high awareness and good knowledge of osteoporosis. Females were better informed than males. Knowledge increased with increasing education level.


Osteoporosis is a worldwide health problem, including Saudi Arabia where vitamin D deficiency is common. Prevention of osteoporosis must begin by increasing awareness of the disease from a young age. This study aimed to assess awareness and knowledge of osteoporosis among young adults (18–30 years) attending Saudi universities, exploring the relationship between education and gender and the sources of information in this age group.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 337 students (176 females; 161 males) randomly selected from four Saudi universities during January–December 2017. Education level ranged from preparatory year to undergraduate and postgraduate levels. A self-reported questionnaire was designed to assess awareness and knowledge of osteoporosis across several domains, including risk factors for the disease, prevalence, symptoms, prevention, and treatment.


Overall, 92% of students had some awareness of osteoporosis through a variety of sources, predominantly via friends. Just over half of all students had a good or high knowledge level overall (53.4 ± 16.6%). Knowledge score correlated with education (r2 = 0.28) and gender (r2 = 0.27); p < 0.0001. Females were better informed than males (57.7 ± 15.4% vs 48.8 ± 16.8%; p < 0.0001). Knowledge increased with increasing education level (preparatory year (47.8 ± 15.3%), undergraduate (53.5 ± 16.5%), and postgraduate (61.8 ± 15.8%); all p < 0.0001).


Knowledge of osteoporosis was good among university students in Saudi Arabia, higher in females and with increasing years of education. Overall, students were more knowledgeable about risk factors compared to other aspects such as symptoms, prevention, or treatment of osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis Awareness Knowledge University Students Saudi Arabia 



This project was funded by the Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, under grant no. (G-646-130-38). The authors, therefore, acknowledge with thanks DSR for technical and financial support. Thanks are extended to Neuroscience Unit at King Fahd Medical Research Center for their support and facilities. Special thanks for Dr. Khaled AlQahtani, the director of Deryaq polyclinic, for his support and comments.

Funding support

This project was funded by Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR), King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, grant no. (G-646-130-38).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jalaluddin A. Khan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fiona E. McGuigan
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kristina E. Akesson
    • 3
    • 4
  • Y. M. Ahmed
    • 1
  • Faiza Abdu
    • 5
  • Hussam Rajab
    • 6
  • Mai Albaik
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Biochemistry Department, Faculty of ScienceKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Center of Excellence for Osteoporosis Research, King Fahd Medical Research CenterKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research UnitLund UniversityLundSweden
  4. 4.Department of OrthopaedicsSkåne University HospitalMalmöSweden
  5. 5.Department of Biological Science, Faculty of ScienceKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  6. 6.English Language Institute, Faculty of Arts and HumanitiesKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

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