The effects of bone mineral density (BMD) testing on behaviour change over 3 years

Osteoporosis develops when bone density deteriorates, which causes bones to become fragile and fracture easily. Little data exists to demonstrate whether people modify their lifestyle after receiving bone density test results that indicate they are at risk of osteoporosis. Elaine Kingwell is assessing whether bone density testing influences people to seek information about osteoporosis and to adopt preventative behaviours believed to have a positive impact on bone density. The behaviours include increasing calcium and vitamin D intake, participating in physical exercise, and taking medications to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Elaine is also studying the way bone density test results are communicated to patients, to determine whether people are more likely to make lifestyle changes when they receive their results directly or when results are sent via their family physician.