Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Health and Kinesiology


Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management

First Advisor

Allison Ford-Wade

Second Advisor

John P. Bentley

Third Advisor

Jasper M. Loftin

Relational Format



Osteoporosis is a serious health issue affecting 10 million Americans, with an additional 44 million being at risk. Due to the morbidity and mortality associated with fractures caused by osteoporosis, it is an important public health concern. Some researchers suggest that African-American women fracture at a lower rate when compared to Caucasians with the same bone mineral density (BMD). However, when African-American women do fracture, they have higher mortality and morbidity rates. Data regarding risk factors and prevalence of low BMD among African American and Caucasian college-aged women are limited. Purpose. The primary purpose of this research was to explain the variance in bone mineral density (BMD) in African-American and Caucasian college-aged women. A secondary purpose was to evaluate the differences in osteoporosis knowledge among college-aged African-American and Caucasian women. Methodology. This study included 101 women ages 18 to 30 years. Fifty participants were African-American and 51 were Caucasian. Anthropometric measurements, osteoporosis knowledge, bone mineral density, body composition, physical activity and nutrient intake were assessed in the present study. Results. In this sample, 38.6% had low spinal BMD and 7.9% had low femoral bone mineral density. Femoral and spinal BMD were regressed on seven potential predictors: race, family history of osteoporosis, weight, current physical activity, osteoporosis knowledge, length of time on oral contraceptives, and calcium intake. Multiple regression analysis shothat BMI/weight and current physical activity were the only two independent variables that significantly predicted spinal and femoral BMD. The final model explained 14.9% of the variance in spinal BMD and 13.1% of the variance in femoral BMD. Osteoporosis knowledge was not significantly different between African-Americans and Caucasians. Conclusions. Contrary to what was hypothesized, race was not a significant predictor of spinal or femoral BMD. Therefore, it is important for both African-American and Caucasian women alike to engage in osteoporosis-preventive behaviors. If women between the ages of 18 and 30 are made aware of their low-BMD status, they can begin bone-building activities before they reach peak bone mass. This provides an opportunity to decrease risk for osteoporosis and related fractures later in life.



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