Article Text

  1. A. Alvanzo*,
  2. G. Mitri**
  1. * Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, VA
  2. **Scranton Temple Residency Program, Scranton, PA


Background More than 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures occur in the United States each year, and half of all postmenopausal women will have an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lifetime. Despite the significant morbidity and mortality associated with osteoporosis, adherence to screening guidelines is low. The purpose of this report was to determine characteristics associated with better osteoporosis knowledge in women over 65 years old.

Methods Women were recruited from internal medicine clinics as part of a multisite study examining the effect of patient and physician education on osteoporosis screening rates. Women were eligible to participate if they were age 65 years or older and had been seen in the clinic at least once in the previous 2 years and were excluded if they were acutely ill, cognitively impaired, or in a hospice program. Participants completed a questionnaire, which included demographic questions and 28 items testing their knowledge of osteoporosis and its risk factors. An osteoporosis knowledge score was calculated for each respondent by assigning 1 point for each correct answer and 0 points for an incorrect answer or an answer of “don't know.”

Results The preliminary results from 137 women with a mean age of 74.5 (SD 6.35) are presented. Fifty-four percent of women were African American and 44% were white. The mean osteoporosis knowledge score was 15.6 (SD 6.45) of a possible 28. A higher knowledge score was significantly associated with higher education level (R = .35, p = .0001), income (R = .31, p = .0006), white race [mean 16.8 (SD 5.73) vs 14.4 (SD 6.81), p = .0323], and a personal history of osteoporosis [mean 17.8 (SD 5.47) vs 14.7 (SD 6.57), p = .0138] and was inversely associated with age (R = −.20, p = .0266). Additionally, women reporting that their doctor had talked to them about protecting their bones had significantly higher scores [mean 17.1 (SD 5.75) vs 14.0 (SD 6.78), p = .0072]. There was no association with a family history of osteoporosis or a history of broken bones in the last 10 years (p > .05).

Conclusions The findings suggest that women at risk of osteoporosis have limited knowledge about osteoporosis and its risk factors. Further research is needed into optimal strategies for improving women's osteoporosis knowledge, particularly in African American, low-income, and less educated women. The results suggest that education provided by a physician may be an important component of any such strategy.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.