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  • Thumbnail for Biocultural and genetic factors used in osteoporosis risk assessment and osteoporosis education for different female age demographics
    Biocultural and genetic factors used in osteoporosis risk assessment and osteoporosis education for different female age demographics by Smith, Claire Elizabeth

    Previous studies emphasize the importance of acquiring maximal bone mineral density through modifiable behavioral practices during childhood and adolescence to help prevent geriatric onset of osteoporosis. The purpose of this study was to examine the biocultural and genetic risk factors medical professionals consider when assessing osteoporosis risk and to evaluate if the appropriate age demographic is targeted for osteoporosis education. Thirty-three medical professionals participated in a structured survey consisting of 20 questions about critical factors for determining osteoporosis risk. Survey results indicated that diet, multivitamin intake, physical activity level, history of low BMI, and cigarette smoking status are among the most important developmental factors respondents considered when evaluating patient risk. Professionals emphasized that the interplay between these modifiable factors significantly influences individual risk. A patient’s age, sex, family history of osteoporosis, and past medical history were also important, albeit non-modifiable, factors. Results revealed that medical professionals adequately educate young female patients about osteoporosis risk and bone health in a clinical context. In an additional component of this study, the frequency and accuracy of osteoporosis and bone health information presented by media sources was assessed by analyzing five magazines and eight Twitter accounts that targeted young women. Results showed that discussion of bone health and osteoporosis was minimal compared to discussion of other aspects of health and the amount of content that focused on attaining a certain physical appearance. Examining the factors that contribute to the incidence of osteoporosis in modern human populations is crucial for understanding and preventing the disease.