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Adolescent bone health knowledge, Osteoporosis risk factors, Adolescent osteoporosis prevention



  1. Martin, Jean T.
  2. Coviak, Cynthia P.
  3. Gendler, Phyllis
  4. Kim, Katherine K.
  5. Cooper, Kristi
  6. Rodrigues-Fisher, Lorraine


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore female adolescents' knowledge about osteoporosis risk factors and the role of dietary calcium and exercise in the prevention of osteoporosis.


METHOD: A descriptive survey design was used in this research.


SAMPLE: A convenience sample of 107 adolescent girls in grades 6-10 who attended a public school in southwestern Michigan participated in this study.


RESULTS: Of 17 questions related to knowledge of osteoporosis risk factors, only 3 of the factors that are most well known to the public (being a woman, having low intake of dairy products, and a lack of adequate exercise) were correctly identified by a majority of the participants.


Knowledge of dietary sources of calcium was primarily limited to dairy products. Participants knew that regular exercise was necessary to prevent osteoporosis, but few could identify the weight-bearing exercises most beneficial for promoting bone health.


CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the knowledge of these adolescents, who are in a crucial period of their lives for accruing bone mineral, had limited knowledge of the risk factors for osteoporosis, calcium-rich foods and dietary calcium requirements, and the type of exercise needed to maximize their bone mineral density. Nurses can work with children, adolescents, their families, and other professionals in interventions to prevent osteoporosis in later years.