The purpose of this work was to develop and conduct a needs and risk instrument to assess knowledge of osteoporosis risk factors, identify beliefs and attitudes about this disease, and delineate the presence and/or absence of healthy behaviors associated with osteoporosis among African American and Hispanic women. The survey findings suggest that African-American and Hispanic women are not well-versed in behaviors that would promote and maintain optimal bone mass. Consequently, they are not practicing appropriate lifestyle and dietary habits to decrease their risk of osteoporosis. Such behaviors include inadequate physical activity, inadequate calcium intake, cigarette smoking, and long-term steroid use. Less than 10% of women in the study were getting adequate daily dietary calcium intake, with only 13% taking daily calcium supplements to augment this deficit and less than one-half of women exercising at a minimal level (20 minutes/3 times a week). Women in this study also had limited knowledge about osteoporosis, perceived this condition to be less of a health threat as compared to breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, and very few had the perception that being Hispanic or African American was a factor to consider in assessing their risk of osteoporosis. Our findings suggest that osteoporosis education and prevention initiatives are needed, specifically for African-American and Hispanic women, to promote healthy behaviors, identify women at-risk, and encourage early diagnosis and treatment.