University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
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Abstract

Osteoporosis is a serious health problem and crippling condition that often results in premature mortality and significant morbidity that may be manifested in the form of fractures, bone deformity, and pain. Osteoporosis affects almost 44 million people in the United States, 80% of whom are women. The purpose of this project was to test a pilot survey using the Stages of Change Model for health behaviors that may affect the risk of osteoporosis. Current research is lacking in use of the Stages of Change model for studying behaviors related to the prevention and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Three surveys were developed to evaluate behavior changes and behavior change intentions resulting from an osteoporosis outreach program for middle-aged women. The program provided educational classes, screening, individual counseling, and referral for 342 women in Northwest Arkansas. The program took place from January to October 2001. The stages surveyed included contemplation, preparation, and action stages, referring to them respectively, as thinking, planning, and have made changes. Subjects were surveyed regarding behavior changes and behavior change intentions that occurred as a direct result of the program. Behaviors surveyed included nutritional habits, specifically calcium intake, level of physical activity, and other behaviors, such as hormone replacement therapy, smoking, and prescription drug use, which affect osteoporosis. Results regarding nutrition variables concluded, 60% started consuming more dairy products, 29% started eating more calcium-rich vegetables, 42% began consuming calcium fortified products such as orange juice, 39% started taking a calcium supplement, 28% started eating more calcium-rich vegetables, and 25% modified their food preparation techniques to include more calcium. Reports of physical activity changes include, 20% started yard work, 19% began walking and 14% began a weight-training program, 13% reported making some other change in their activity level that was not listed on the survey. Regarding other behavior changes, 7% started on hormone replacement therapy and 26% reported some other behavior change that was not listed on the survey. An osteoporosis outreach program may be instrumental in facilitating behavior changes that support bone health and, therefore, osteoporosis prevention.

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