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Beauty queens urge girls not to sacrifice their bones

Seven beauty queens from four continents today appealed to girls and young women to realize that modern ideas of "beauty" can damage their bones and lead to osteoporosis later in life.

The women, from Australia, Austria, Panama, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela, were speaking at "IOF Beauties and the Bones", an event organized by International Osteoporosis Foundation - IOF.

Speaking movingly of their own experiences, the women, who won their titles between 1972 and 2003, noted that many pre-teenage and teenage girls worldwide have an obsession with beauty at the expense of health. The beauty queens pointed out that the standard of beauty, even for beauty queens, is changing. They urged women and men of all ages to take responsibility for their bone health, to recognize that while beauty is partly physical it is also made up of inner beauty that includes respecting one's health and behavior.

Medical specialists from IOF noted that with Asia's aging population, it is expected that the burden of osteoporosis will increase dramatically if no preventive action is taken.

Dr Khunying Kobchitt, president of the IOF member society Thailand Osteoporosis Foundation, and professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand remarked that osteoporosis is already a huge health problem in Asia, and getting more serious every day- in 45 years (by 2050), one out of every two fractures in the world will occur in Asia. All women and men should take immediate action to review their life styles and take the IOF One Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test.

Maximum bone development takes place in girls and boys roughly between ages 11-17. By building peak bone mass during this period, young people "invest in their bones" and reduce the risk of fracture later in life, noted Professor Ghassan Maalouf, an IOF Board member from Lebanon who spoke about the importance of proper diet (including adequate calcium and vitamin D), and sufficient exercise, in building bone strength and mass. He also pointed out that certain lifestyle activities, such as eating disorders, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can be detrimental to bone health.

The "IOF Beauties and the Bones" event is part of the lead-in to World Osteoporosis Day 2005, celebrated worldwide on October 20, which this year features the theme "Move it or Lose it" - the role of exercise in building strong bones". The theme for World Osteoporosis Day 2006 will be "Bone Appetit-the importance of nutrition in bone health".

Osteoporosis, in which the bones become fragile and break easily, is one of the world's most devastating and common chronic diseases. It strikes one in three women over 50 worldwide (more than breast cancer) and one in five men (more than prostate cancer).

At a related media seminar, IOF released a new publication "Move it or Lose it" which looks at the impact of weight-bearing exercise on building strong bones. Professor Helmut Minne, an IOF Board member and author of the report, noted that, among many dramatic conclusions, in girls the bone tissue accumulated during the ages of 11-13 roughly equals the amount of bone lost during the 30 years following menopause. Also, in one study, the most physically active young girls gain about 40% more bone mass than the least active girls of the same age. "Older people also benefit," he noted, pointing out that "exercising your back during middle-age can help prevent the vertebrae from weakening or fracturing when people get older".

The "IOF Beauties and the Bones" event was held in conjunction with the biennial IOF World Wide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies. This event, also held in Bangkok, marks the first time that such a gathering has taken place in Asia. Some 200 delegates from IOF member national osteoporosis societies in more than 50 countries are expected to attend.

"It is particularly important that we ar e meeting in Bangkok because the number of people suffering from osteoporosis is growing fastest in the Asian region," noted IOF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Navid.

The "IOF Beauties and the Bones" participants included:

Belinda Green. Miss Australia, Miss World 1972

Ulla Weigerstorfer Miss Austria, Miss World 1987

Justine Pasek Miss Panama, Miss Universe 2002

Chalida Thaochalee Miss Thailand 1998

Pavadee Vicheinrut Miss Thailand 1995, Mrs World 2003

Manolya Onur Miss Turkey 1976

Pilin Leon Miss World 1981


Source:International Osteoporosis Foundation

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