Osteoporosis is a growing health problem around the world. The increasing incidence of osteoporotic fractures coupled with the lack of knowledge about the disease in the general community means that the disease is continuously increasing the burden on health sector and the general population. The purpose of the study is to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices about osteoporosis among female medical school entrants in Karachi.
This is a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted amongst 400 female medical school entrants of DOW University of Health Sciences (DUHS) and Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU). A pre validated questionnaire, Osteoporosis Knowledge Assessment Tool (OKAT), was distributed amongst the participants. A food frequency questionnaire was also distributed to determine calcium intake. Descriptive statistics and Chi square test were used to compare the two groups of students with SPSS (20.0) being utilized for analysis. A p value of <0.05 was considered as significant.
The mean age of the participants was 19.4 ± 1.2 years. Only 8.0% of the participants had a good score pertaining to knowledge about osteoporosis whereas majority of the participants (49.0%) had a poor score. Perceived susceptibility was low as only 14.0% of the participants believed that they were at a high risk for osteoporosis. The RDA for calcium was equal to or greater than 700 mg per day which was met by only 29.0% of the participants despite of the high motivation towards consuming a calcium rich diet. Exercise levels were insufficient in terms of both, duration and the recommended type of exercise. Only 12.0% of the participants engaged in exercises according to the recommended guidelines. Moreover, only 5.5% subjects were involved in definitive behaviors to improve bone health.
Participants possessed an insufficient knowledge of the disease and that too was not adequately applied in preventative practices. There is a serious lack of adoption of preventative practices for osteoporosis. This was primarily due to little appreciation of the seriousness of osteoporosis. Hence, this study highlights the dire need for awareness about practices and attitudes related to the disease. Furthermore, it could be of paramount importance to future studies conducted on practices and beliefs related to osteoporosis.