Aim. This paper reports an evaluation of a nurse-initiated education programme on four specific osteoporosis prevention behaviours which led to their adoption or to positive attitude changes.
Background. In the past, osteoporosis was a serious health concern that most commonly affected women in Northern Europe and the United States of America, but was less commonly seen in Asian women. However, in Hong Kong, osteoporosis is currently among the top five conditions causing disability and prolonged hospital stay for older people. From an economic perspective, the most cost-effective approach is to focus on primary prevention via education, and nurses often have the responsibility of providing such educational programmes.
Method. A randomized controlled study was conducted from July 2004 to March 2005 with 76 women (38 cases and 38 controls) recruited in two private beauty clinics in Hong Kong. Pre-, post- and follow-up education data were compared regarding attitudes and adoption frequency before and after the education programme.
Results. The results showed statistically significant increases for each behaviour: consumption of soy foods (P < 0·001), milk (P < 0·001), more exercise (P = 0·01) and vitamin D/exposure to sunlight (P < 0·001) for the case group compared with the control group. Most participants either disagreed (n = 15, 39·0%) or strongly disagreed (n = 23, 61·0%) that there was not enough information provided in the education programme to motivate them to change. They rated the nurse's performance as either satisfactory or very satisfactory on presentation, ability to answer their questions and ability to describe each behaviour clearly.
Conclusion. Although positive results with a nurse-initiated education programme were demonstrated, future research examining the effects of education and occupation on these four adoption behaviours should focus on more diverse populations with respect to age, income or ethnicity. The findings suggest the value of creative approaches in future health education for the prevention of osteoporosis, and the need for a critical appraisal of current strategies and a re-evaluation of services and funding.