Publication Date



This study investigated associations between health literacy and use of anti-fracture medications in women with osteoporosis. Data were collected for women participating in the population-based Geelong Osteoporosis Study in Australia. Health literacy was ascertained using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) and bone mineral density by dual x-ray absorptiometry. Self-reported current medications were classified using MIMS codes, with the category ‘Agent affecting calcium and bone metabolism’ indicating osteoporosis treatment. Analysis of Variance (p-value<0.1 indicating a trend) and Cohen's d effect sizes (ES [95%CI]) (categorised; Small>0.2- <0.5, Moderate>0.5–0.8, Large>0.8) were calculated for differences in HLQ scale scores between participants who did vs. did not self-report medication use. Among 620 women, 134 (21.6%) had osteoporosis, 14 (10.5%) of whom self-reported current anti-fracture medication use. Small/moderate ES indicated women taking medication had lower HLQ scores in scales ‘Navigating the healthcare system’, ‘Ability to find health information’ and ‘Understand health information’ (ES 0.36 [0.25–0.79], 0.41 [0.29–0.87] and 0.64 [0.54–1.03], respectively). A trend was observed (p=0.09) for ‘Understand health information’ scale scores and utilisation of medication. These data suggest women with less confidence in their ability to find and understand health information may follow healthcare provider recommendations and utilise anti-fracture medications more readily.


Institute for Health and Ageing

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.