Osteoporosis prevention education for adolescents: a systematic review of the literature

Papadopoulos, Lynley
Zinn, Caryn
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

Osteoporosis is known as the silent disease as it is often not diagnosed until an individual presents with a low impact fracture. Many people of all ages appear to be unaware of the risk factors and preventive behaviours. Adolescence is a period of significant growth and change. It is during this time that the majority of bone mass is accumulated. Education to increase awareness of risk factors and preventive behaviours is identified as being paramount in helping to prevent the onset of this disease later in life. Studies reveal that adolescent diets are frequently lacking in calcium intake and levels of physical activity are lower than is recommended. These are two lifestyle factors that can help to improve bone density. Education on these factors can contribute significantly to reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis. Results: The review indicates that there are poor levels of knowledge regarding osteoporosis among the adolescent population group. There are a small number of studies that include the older adolescent in the assessment of knowledge and even fewer studies that solely focus only on adolescents. Some studies include assessment of health beliefs and behaviours and in most cases an educational intervention has not lead to significant changes in these. In New Zealand, there have been no studies that examine the question of osteoporosis knowledge among adolescents. Only one study that was based in New Zealand was found that looked at the question of osteoporosis knowledge and this was in a group older than adolescents. There are only a limited number of educational programmes available for the adolescent group. Most of these have been developed overseas. An evaluation of internet resources has demonstrated that these are not necessarily suitable in the reading level and the level of information provided. Some resources are available in New Zealand although there appears to be little in the literature that supports the use of these.

Bone development , Adolescent health , Anorexia nervosa , Osteopenia , Calcium deficiency , Convenience sampling
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