Every year, on 20 October, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), the world’s largest NGO dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases, organises World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) to raise awareness on the prevalence of osteoporosis, a largely underestimated non-communicable disease, and on the importance of bone health. This year, WOD focuses on osteoporosis in men and issues a survey which reveals that most respondents are unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men. Danone, as a partner of IOF and a food company committed to promoting health through food, supports WOD and IOF’s goal to reach 1 million individual members.
A common and serious issue for both women and men
Bone health is very important for a long and healthy life. Osteoporosis is a ‘common, serious and potentially life-threatening‘ issue, warns IOF. The organisation has issued an infographic showing how osteoporotic fractures can lastingly impair the patients’ life. After a hip fracture, men are twice as likely to die as women; 10-20% will require long-term nursing care due to partial loss of independence, and one in five men over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
Yet a study published by IOF on October 20 highlights how far these figures are an underestimation. 90% of the 13,258 adults questioned (the survey was conducted by YouGov in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the USA) were unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men, 73% underestimated the risk of fractures in men and a further 17% said they ‘didn’t know’.
This ignorance poses threats to people’s quality of life, and is also a public health issue: in Europe alone, the annual cost of fractures is €1.6 billion World Osteoporosis Day is thus an occasion to raise awareness on the importance of bone health for men and women alike, when most discussions about osteoporosis tend to focus on women. It is also the occasion for OIF to launch a campaign to reach 1 million individual members and thus spread the word about osteoporosis and how to prevent it. Danone supports this campaign and WOD, not only as part of its commitment to promote health through food, but also as a continuation of its relationship with IOF. In November 2013, IOF CEO Judy Stenmark gave Danone an award for its commitment and actions in raising awareness on osteoporosis among its employees. During the spring of 2014, IOF became a partner of YINI, the “Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative for a Balanced Diet”, which was initiated by Danone Institute International and the American Society for Nutrition. IOF thus brings its expertise on bone health to the table. If you’d like to help raise awareness on osteoporosis, you can wear white today, take part in the discussions on social networks with the hashtag #LoveYourBones – and become a member of IOF to learn more!
Photo © Maridav