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Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Susan P. Himburg

First Advisor's Title

Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Frederick L. Newman

Second Advisor's Title

Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Zisca Dixon

Third Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Adriana Campa

Fourth Advisor's Title

Committee Member

Keywords

Osteoporosis Education, Calcium Intake, Physical Activity, Community-Dwelling, Black, Older Adults

Date of Defense

5-21-2009

Abstract

The unprecedented increase in the number of older adults is expected to increase the burden of osteoporosis on the individual and society. Blacks have been understudied in osteoporosis prevention education research. Although the risk of osteoporosis is low in this population, its consequences are significant.

This study employs a two-group experimental design (experimental and wait-list control groups) to evaluate the effect of an osteoporosis education on two osteoporosis prevention behaviors (OPBs) – calcium intake (CI) and physical activity (PA), in a group of community-dwelling Black older adults, 50 years and older resident in South Florida. A final sample of 110 (mean age 70.15 years), 90% female and 10% male completed a battery of questionnaires at two assessment periods. The experimental group participated in six weekly education program sessions immediately following baseline assessment, and the wait-list control group received the education following end of program assessment by all participants. The weekly educational sessions were conducted in social settings (church or senior center) employing constructs of the Revised Health Belief Model. The sessions focused on improving CI; osteoporosis knowledge (OKT), self-efficacy (SE), health beliefs (HB) and PA.

Findings revealed significantly greater increase in reported CI (M = 556 mg, Wilks’ λ = .47, F(1,108)=122.97, p< .001, η2=.53), OKT (p< .001), and SE (p< .001) among participants in the experimental compared to the wait-list control group. There was no significant difference between the two groups for PA and most of the HB subscales. OKT and SE were the best predictors of CI, while perceived barrier was a predominant factor predicting PA. Over the study period, a change in SE was the only variable related to changes in both OPBs. Attrition rate was lower than expected, which can be attributed to the settings utilized for the study.

These findings support the importance of utilizing a familiar social setting. These results suggested the effectiveness of a program offered in multiple short sessions among this underserved minority population to improve OKT and SE resulting in a change in OPBs (increase in CI). However, there is need to explore alternative strategies to improve PA in this population group.

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