Objective: Our goal was to determine how often primary care providers discussed osteoporosis prevention and calcium intake with women during their health maintenance examinations.
Methods: A total of 449 women aged 18 to 65 years participated in exit interviews immediately following a health maintenance examination at 1 of 8 Wisconsin family practice clinics.
Results: Forty-six percent of these women reported discussing osteoporosis with their providers during their visit, and 51% reported discussing calcium intake. A total of 61% reported discussing either osteoporosis or calcium intake during the visit. Some providers were able to discuss these topics with more than 90% of their patients. A logistic regression model showed that providers were less likely to discuss either of these issues with women younger than 40 years (P=.019); they were more likely to discuss them with women older than 60 years (P=.002) than with women aged 40 to 60 years; and women providers were significantly more likely to discuss either issue (P=.004).
Conclusions: Primary care providers are in a good position to counsel women of all ages about their potential for avoiding osteoporosis and to recommend prevention strategies. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women be counseled on adequate calcium intake yearly after the age of 18 years. Provider education and institutional changes may increase the frequency of this counseling for all primary care physicians.