Term of Award

Spring 1992

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Sara E. Connor

Committee Member 1

Mary M. Miller

Committee Member 2

Michael Lariscy

Committee Member 3

Camille P. Stern


Although osteoporosis has been highlighted as a major and preventable health problem for women, minimal investigation has been conducted to identify factors which influence the adaptation of a lifestyle conducive to its prevention. While it was once considered a normal part of the aging process, research indicates that regular exercise throughout the lifespan can help to prevent this disease. There has been much publicity about osteoporosis in the last decade, yet little inquiry into the degree of public knowledge about its seriousness and prevention.

The purpose of this descriptive, correlational study was to determine if there is a relationship between exercise habits to osteoporosis knowledge and health belief. A second question asked if there were relationships among age, presence risk factors, osteoporosis knowledge, health beliefs, and exercise habits. The subjects were 113 female students enrolled in Physical Education classes at Armstrong State College during Winter Quarter, 1992. Data was gathered through the use of self-response questionnaires which included three parts; demographic data, osteoporosis knowledge test, and Osteoporosis Health Belief Scale. Data analysis was completed through descriptive and inferential statistics. Significance level was set at p < .05.

The results of the study indicated that although there was no significant relationship between exercise habits and any of the other variables, there were significant relations between several of the variables. There was a positive correlation (r=.25, p=.00) between knowledge of osteoporosis and individual perception of the benefits of exercise as prevention. There were positive correlations between age and three other variables. The correlation between age and knowledge was (r=.19/ p=.04). The relationship between age and health motivation was r=.l9 (p=.05). There was a very strong negative relationship between age and barriers to exercise (r=-.94, p=.00). Conclusions based on these results and recommendations for further research were suggested. One of the conclusions was that the subjects who exercise, do so for reasons other than for osteoporosis prevention. Since the barriers to exercise increase dramatically with age, there is a strong need for early intervention and education to foster a lifetime of activities to prevent osteoporosis.

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