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Keywords:

  • calcium;
  • DEXA;
  • education;
  • health literacy;
  • Healthy People 2010;
  • menopause;
  • Medicare;
  • osteoporosis;
  • vitamin D

Abstract With an increased focus on wellness and health promotion, there is a need for community-based strategies to complement traditional strategies aimed at improving individual and aggregate health. An educational program on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis was provided for 188 women age 60 and older in three different community settings: churches, retirement homes, and senior citizen centers. The major purposes of the study were to determine whether a community-based program might (a) contribute to older women's knowledge about osteoporosis and (b) promote their intent to use this knowledge. Each participant completed a demographic profile, the Osteoporosis Risk Checklist, and the Osteoporosis Knowledge Questionnaire (OKQ), with the OKQ serving as a pre- and post-test. Before post-testing, a 30-min educational program was provided. Differences among the three groups were risk factors, prior knowledge about osteoporosis, and knowledge at the completion of the program. A majority of the clients indicated an intent to increase calcium in their diet, discuss osteoporosis with their health care provider, check their home environment for safety/falls, and discuss what they had learned with others. Nurses need to plan educational programs in all settings to teach older clients about the risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis.