WASHINGTON, DC (May 2, 2011) – In honor of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and Harris Interactive are releasing the results of a survey about osteoporosis awareness and prevention. Overall, the survey shows promising results, with most respondents indicating they were aware of osteoporosis, its risk factors and how to prevent the disease. However, 34 percent of respondents indicated they had never heard of osteoporosis at all, showing that more works needs to be done.
“Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans,” says Amy Porter, Executive Director and CEO of NOF. “Ten million Americans currently live with the disease and nearly 34 million are estimated to have low bone density. Given those numbers are so high, it’s important that we move the needle on awareness and help people understand how to avoid osteoporosis down the road.”
“Osteoporosis now causes an estimated two million fractures each year and can result in immobility, pain, and other health problems,” said Robert R. Recker, MD, NOF President. “These conditions and circumstances could largely be prevented through proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment.”
The NOF and Harris Interactive survey also showed that nearly 70 percent of women who responded to the survey believe that the disease can be prevented. However, only 50 perfect recognized exercise as a method of osteoporosis prevention and only 27 percent believed diet had an impact.
During National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, NOF is calling on all Americans to get educated about osteoporosis. “We want people to understand their risk factors, learn how to prevent the disease and then take action,” says Porter. “That means striving to get enough calcium, vitamin D and bone healthy exercise every day and talking to their doctors about when to get a bone density test.”
It also means talking to family and friends. Many people do not realize that osteoporosis is often considered a pediatric disease with geriatrics consequences—approximately 85 - 90 percent of adult bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and 20 in boys. It’s never too early or too late to take steps to improve bone health, which is why NOF encourages parents and grandparents to have a conversation with their children and grandchildren.
For more information about osteoporosis, including prevention, risk factors and treatment, please visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website at www.nof.org or call 1 -800-231-4222.
About the National Osteoporosis Foundation Established in 1984, the National Osteoporosis Foundation, a leading community-focused health organization, is dedicated to the prevention of osteoporosis and broken bones, the promotion of strong bones for life and the reduction of human suffering through programs of awareness, education, advocacy and research. For more information on the National Osteoporosis Foundation, visit www.nof.org.
The December issue of Consumer Reports on Health announces "Good News about Osteoporosis Meds." A recent review of 294 studies completed since 2005 concluded that certain drugs to treat low bone density can reduce the risk of a spinal fracture by 40 to 60 percent in high risk women, and other fractures can be reduced by 20 to 40 percent.
NOF cautions the observational research study conducted by the Department of Surgical Sciences at Uppsala University in Sweden, and published recently in The BMJ, has a number of severe limitations, as the study authors admit in the abstract.