OSTEOPOROSIS INTERNATIONAL, vol.16, no.2, pp.128-133, 2005 (SCI-Expanded)
Osteoporosis has recently been recognized as a major public health problem by some governments and health care providers. Despite significant progress in knowledge about osteoporosis, public awareness is required for effective management if precautions are to be taken. The aim of this study was to evaluate the educational status of osteoporotic individuals, and their awareness about the disease and sources of information. We also aimed to compare the variables between the geographical regions of the country, since significant differences exist in socioeconomic status and lifestyle within the same cultural context. This multicenter study was carried out in eight cities located in six different geographical regions between September 2001 and January 2002. To our knowledge, this is the first multicenter study in Turkey evaluating the relationship between awareness of osteoporotic patients and other variables such as educational level and economic factors. Ten centers took part in this study and consecutive patients with either femoral or lumbar T-scores below -2.5 SD were enrolled into the study group. Bone mineral density was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Patients were interviewed using a questionnaire on past medical history, education, awareness about their disease and risk factors for osteoporosis. A total of 540 women (93.8%) and 36 men (6.3%) were included in the study. Fifty-four percent of patients declared that they were aware of osteoporosis. With regard to sources of information, 56.8% of patients reported physicians as the main source of information. Awareness of the patients was negatively correlated with age (P= 0.025, r= -0,94) but positively correlated with education ( P= 0.0001, r= 0.327), level of physical activity ( P= 0.001, r= 143), calcium intake ( P= 0.005, r= 119) and modern clothing style ( P= 0.0001, r= 309). Educational status of the patients was negatively correlated with BMI ( P= 0.0001, r=) 283) and positively correlated with physical activity ( P= 0.0001, r= 268), modern clothing style ( P= 0.0001, r= 600) and smoking ( P= 0.0001, r= 273). Regional comparison of female patients demonstrated that significant differences exist in terms of educational status, clothing style, smoking, level of physical activity, calcium intake, and knowledge about osteoporosis. As a result, education has profound effects on awareness about osteoporosis and many aspects of human behavior, such as calcium intake, physical activity, clothing style and smoking. Significant disparities may be observed between the geographical regions of the same country.