Friday, May 01, 2009

Family History is Key Risk Factor in Developing Osteoporosis

/PRNewswire/ -- Of all the gifts that generations of women have passed on to their loved ones, one of the most important is the gift of knowledge about health -- especially information about bone health and osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is sponsoring A Gift from Mothers to Daughters as the theme for Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention this May to help break the cycle of generations of women suffering from this disease.

"An estimated one in two women age 50 and older will break a bone from osteoporosis in their remaining lifetime," said Leo Schargorodski, executive director of NOF. "Our goal is to provide parents information about bone health and osteoporosis prevention, so they can not only protect themselves, but also influence the next generation to make lifelong bone health a family tradition."

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become weak and can break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, from a simple action such as a sneeze. In the U.S. today, nearly 8 million women have osteoporosis and millions more are at risk. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Surgeon General have joined NOF in declaring osteoporosis a major public health issue for the nation.

In a 2008 survey, it was revealed that 40 percent of women and 60 percent of men age 45 and older have little or no concern about their bone health.(1) Additionally, it has been reported that nine out of 10 teenage girls fail to get enough of the calcium they need.(2)

"Bone health is a family issue, particularly as genetics and heredity are among the key factors that influence a person's risk of developing osteoporosis," said Robert Recker, MD, president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "However, there are many lifestyle choices that families can make to help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis later in life."

NOF encourages all individuals, young and old, to eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercise and be active, and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.

Throughout the month of May, NOF is collaborating with its network of healthcare professionals and patient support groups and reaching out to all Americans to encourage family dialogue about bone health and osteoporosis. Visit www.nof.org to download materials and learn more about the events and activities planned for Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month.

Celebrating 25 years of Standing Tall for You(R), the National Osteoporosis Foundation is the nation's leading voluntary health organization solely dedicated to osteoporosis and bone health. Its mission is to prevent osteoporosis, to promote lifelong bone health, to help improve the lives of those affected by osteoporosis and related fractures, and to find a cure through programs of awareness, education, advocacy and research. For more information on osteoporosis and bone health, contact NOF online at www.nof.org or by telephone (800) 223-9994.

According to NOF prevalence estimates and reinforced in Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General, osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, or 55 percent of the people 50 years of age and older. In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals are estimated to already have the disease. Almost 34 million more people are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis.

Notes:

1) GFK Custom Research North America. April 2008. Osteoporosis Study. Commissioned by National Osteoporosis Foundation.

2) What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002 : Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes; www.ars.usda.gov/foodsurvey

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