The relationship between osteoporosis knowledge, beliefs and dietary calcium intake among South Asian women in Auckland : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
Osteoporosis is a serious public health issue, which is growing in significance because
of our aging population. It is estimated that one in three New Zealand women over the
age of 50 years will suffer from an osteoporotic-related fracture. The risk of
osteoporosis among South Asian women living in New Zealand is unknown. However,
this is an important and growing population group.
The purpose of this study was to determine osteoporosis knowledge, health beliefs and
dietary calcium intake in a sample of South Asian women living in Auckland, New
Zealand. Relationships between these variables and the predictors of dietary calcium
intake were examined.
A sample of 102 South Asian women (mean age of 41.6 years) completed an online
questionnaire to assess osteoporosis knowledge and health beliefs using the validated
Osteoporosis Knowledge Test (OKT) and Osteoporosis Health Belief Scale (OHBS),
respectively. A four day food diary was used to assess dietary calcium and energy
In general, these South Asian women were lacking in osteoporosis knowledge, they did
not perceive themselves to be susceptible to osteoporosis and did not consider
osteoporosis to be a serious disease. They perceived many benefits of consuming a high
calcium diet for the prevention of osteoporosis and did not identify many barriers to
dietary calcium intake. In addition, these South Asian women were highly health
motivated. Perceived barriers to dietary calcium intake (R=-0.32; P<0.01) and health
motivation (R=0.30; P<0.01) were significantly correlated to dietary calcium intake.
Health motivation, perceived barriers to dietary calcium intake and the use of a dietary
supplement were significant predictors of dietary calcium intake and together explained
27% of the variance.
These findings suggest that osteoporosis prevention interventions may need to increase
awareness, overcome perceived barriers to dietary calcium intake as well as maintain
health motivation among these South Asian women to achieve sufficient dietary calcium