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  1. Evenson, Alexa L.
  2. Sanders, Gregory F.


BACKGROUND: Successful prevention of osteoporosis begins early in life. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D plays a role in this prevention along with knowledge, health beliefs, and self-efficacy related to preventive dietary behaviors.


PURPOSE: The purpose of this theory-based study was to examine young adults' knowledge of osteoporosis, health beliefs, self-efficacy, dietary calcium, and vitamin D intakes as measures of preventive behaviors.


METHODS: A pre-/posttest design was used to determine knowledge, health beliefs, and self-efficacy. A convenience sample of young adults (n = 153) was obtained at a Midwestern college. Participants completed pre- and postquestionnaires that included an osteoporosis knowledge test, health belief scale, self-efficacy scale, and 3-day food records.


RESULTS: Health beliefs were a significant predictor of dietary calcium intake and vitamin D intake. Both interventions increased osteoporosis knowledge and health beliefs but not self-efficacy. No differences were found between genders. Both interventions did not significantly alter dietary behavior; however, average dietary calcium intake met current recommendations.


CONCLUSION: Either educational method could be implemented in courses or community education to increase knowledge and health beliefs.