Knowledge of Osteoporosis among Tertiary Students in Vietnam

H. T. T. Nguyen*1, N. D. Nguyen2, T. H. H. Tran*3, C. T. K. Nguyen*3, B. N. Hoang*3, T. V. Nguyen*2.

1: Medical University, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

2: Bone and Mineral ResearchProgram, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia.

3: Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Viet Nam.

This research was presented as oral presentation at Strong Bone Asia Conference 2013


Osteoporosis has emerged as one of the most significant public health problems in the world, especially in developing countries. Prevention is recognized as an ideal approach to reduce the burden of osteoporosis. Knowledge is considered as important component in any preventative program; however, assessment of osteoporosis knowledge has not been well studied. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge about osteoporosis among tertiary students in Vietnam.

Three hundred and five students were randomly invited from 5 universities/colleges (Medicine, 40%; Pharmacy, 12%; Poly-techniques, 17%; Journalism, 17%; and Pedagogy, 14%). The median age of the students was 23y. Each student was administered a Vietnamese version of the OPQ questionnaire, which consists of 20 items with four components: general knowledge (GK), risk factors (RF), nutrition and exercise (N&E) and treatment (T). Each question was scored as 1 for correct answer and 0 for incorrect answer. Therefore, the maximum score for a participant was 20 and the minimum score was 0. The proportion of correct answers was then estimated for each participant. A log-binomial regression was used to estimate the association between factors and the likelihood of correct answers.

The median proportion of correct answers (for 20 items) was 65% (inter-quartile range, IQR: 45-75). The median of proportion of correct answers for GK was 80% (IQR: 60-100), RF 63% (IQR: 50-75), N&E 75% (IQR: 50-100) and T 33% (IQR: 0-67%). Results from a multivariable analysis suggested that medical and pharmacy students were more knowledgeable than other students, with the proportion of >75% correct answers being 55% vs. 7%. The multivariable log-binomial regression analysis suggested that the degree of osteoporosis knowledge among medical and pharmacy students was 7.3 times (95% CI: 3.7-14.6) higher than non-medical and pharmacy students. Moreover, students spending more than 2 hours in reading and listening to radio were 1.41 times (95% CI: 1.1-1.9) more likely to answer >75% correct questions compared to those with limited time (< 2hrs).

In summary, university/college students in Vietnam had good knowledge of osteoporosis, including general knowledge, nutrition and exercise and risk factors for osteoporosis. However, they had poor knowledge of treatment. These findings imply that there is a need for educational program via newspapers and radio to impart the osteoporosis knowledge in the general public and university students.