The relationship of calcium intake and exercise to osteoporosis health beliefs in postmenopausal women.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about postmenopausal women's health beliefs and preventative behaviors regarding osteoporosis. Determining their beliefs and behaviors regarding osteoporosis can be helpful in developing effective interventions for osteoporosis prevention. OBJECTIVES: To use the Health Belief Model to assess the associations between postmenopausal women's osteoporosis health beliefs and osteoporosis preventative behaviors. METHODS: Using a self-administered survey, data were obtained from a convenience sample of 187 postmenopausal (> or =65 years of age) women, with no history of osteoporosis at a community pharmacy and senior nutrition sites in central Texas. The independent variables included health beliefs (susceptibility to osteoporosis, severity of osteoporosis, benefits and barriers of calcium intake, benefits and barriers of exercise, health motivation, self-efficacy of calcium intake and exercise) and modifying factors (demographics and risk factors). Calcium intake and exercise were the dependent variables. Multiple regression was used to assess the relationships between health beliefs and modifying factors with calcium intake and exercise. RESULTS: The respondents' mean age was 75.4+/-6.5 years, and Mexican Americans comprised approximately 40% (39.6%) of the sample. Their reported calcium intake (mean+/-SD) was 1604.7+/-907mg/d and they engaged in 5 hours ([mean+/-SD]: 5.1+/-5.3) of weight-bearing exercise per week. Self-efficacy of calcium intake and self-efficacy of exercise had significant (P<.05) positive relationships with calcium intake behavior. In addition, self-efficacy of exercise was significantly (P<.05) and positively related to exercise behavior. CONCLUSIONS: Self-efficacy was significantly associated with postmenopausal women's performance of osteoporosis preventative behaviors. Improving postmenopausal women's confidence in engaging in appropriate calcium intake and weight-bearing exercise behaviors may be beneficial to osteoporosis prevention.