Context: Osteoporosis is a universally growing health problem. Adequate calcium intake and physical activity, alongside a high level of knowledge and health beliefs, play a crucial role in preventing or delaying diseases.
Aim: This scoping review provides an overview of university students' prevailing knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors regarding osteoporosis.
Methods: CINHAL, PubMed, and MEDLINE databases were searched to cover the period between 2014 to 2019. Twenty-seven articles were selected out of 4078 were retrieved. The following searching terms were used: (osteoporosis knowledge OR osteoporosis awareness) AND osteoporosis beliefs AND (osteoporosis practices OR osteoporosis behaviors OR calcium intake OR physical activity) AND (osteoporosis OR bone mineral density) AND (nursing students OR university students OR undergraduate students OR college-age students OR young adults). Finally, the level of osteoporosis knowledge, health beliefs, preventive behaviors, the relationship between practices/behaviors and lifestyle with bone health, and the educational intervention's significant/nonsignificant positive effect on the students' osteoporosis knowledge, the prevailed beliefs, and the level of engagement in the osteoporosis preventive behaviors were documented.
Results: Most articles demonstrate that the students' osteoporosis knowledge was insufficient and seriously lacking in osteoporosis's perceived susceptibility and severity. This finding clarified that most students were not adequately engaging in the osteoprotective preventive behaviors (Physical activity ad Ca intake). Also, the finding indicates that following a healthy lifestyle and engaging in osteoprotective behaviors positively affect BMD and vice versa.
Conclusion: The lack of osteoporosis awareness among the university students and the low perception of osteoporosis susceptibility and severity explains why most participants are not engaged in osteoporosis preventive behaviors due to the strong influence of personal beliefs, perceptions, and misconceptions. Therefore, it is important to design educational programs targeting these groups to raise awareness and change their subsequent beliefs.
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