Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 1993 Outstanding Master's Thesis Award - Third Place.

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Open Access Thesis


Osteoporosis--Risk factors; Teenage girls--Health and hygiene;


The purpose of this study was to describe the known risk factor profile for bone health in an apparently healthy female adolescent population. A risk profile of nine factors, compiled from the current research literature included the following risks: (a) Female gender, (b) family history of osteoporosis, (c) Caucasian or Oriental race, (d) slender body frame/underweight, (e) dietary intake less than 1500 mg calcium/day, (f) weight-bearing physical activity less than 60 minutes three times a week, (g) amenorrhea or irregular menses associated with strenuous physical training, (h) smoking, and (i) alcohol use.

A three-day diet record was used to determine average daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, total protein, and total calories. A personal health questionnaire provided an estimate of physical activity levels, menstrual history, family history of osteoporosis, as well as history of cigarette and alcohol usage. Measurement of height, weight, and two skinfolds yielded a body mass index and estimates of body composition which were used to determine desirable weight for height.

Sixty female 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students attending Malcolm Price Laboratory School, ages 13 to 16 years participated in the study. Three of the nine risk factors dominated the bone health profile: Female gender (100%), Caucasian or Oriental race (94%), and low calcium intake (92%). The shortage of calcium found in these diets was possibly compounded by a high protein intake in 82% of participants. The frequent pattern of a Moderate to Very Active lifestyle (98%) is thought to be beneficial to bone health, while minimal smoking (2%), and low alcohol usage (7%) are potentially protective factors. Individuals with a small body frame or underweight for height (15%) were noted in each age group, while the factor of < 2 menses per year (15%), exhibited by 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds, was most likely associated with delayed menarche. Additionally, 30% of participants reported some irregularity of menses during active sports seasons.

Thirty-seven (62%) of participants recorded three risk factors, 16 (27%) had four factors, and five subjects (8%) accumulated five risk factors. Individual combinations of multiple risk profiles were quite diverse.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

1993 Award

Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Forrest A. Dolgener, Chair, Thesis Committee


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (vi, 106 pages)



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