Sally Pearson


The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify the known modifiable risk factors for osteoporosis in the college population. Pender's Theory of Health Promotion served as the theoretical framework for this study. The research question was as follows : What preventive behaviors are college students participating in that will increase their risk of osteoporosis? Risk factors were measured using the Osteoporosis Lifestyle Survey, a tool with face validity. The sample population (N = 121) consisted of students, ages 17 to 30 years, who were attending a small southern university and who submitted the questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and content analysis for open-ended questions in the survey. Results from data analysis indicated that over 74% of the sample participated in factors that would decrease their chance of osteoporosis. They exercised (74.4%) and refrained from alcohol use (75%) and smoking (88.4%). The students (91.7%) rarely missed a menstrual cycle due to over-exercising and did not take prescription drugs (98.3%) that increased their 1 1 1 chance of osteoporosis. Calcium intake in this population was inadequate. Only 14.8% of the students consumed the recommended amount of calcium in their diet, and only 10% took calcium supplements. Multivitamin supplementation was reported by only 34.7% of the students. Conclusions from the data reveal that lack of dietary calcium intake was the most pressing problem in this population. Bone mineral density does not continue to accumulate significantly after age 30 years. Therefore, an urgent need to participate in all factors that build bone mass in the appropriate age span is essential. Future recommendations consist of exploring the modifiable risk factor of inadequate calcium intake for this population to see how to affect change in this area.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

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Nursing Commons