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The National Coalition for Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases Briefed Congress on Action Plan for a National Vision for Bone Health

Congress Urged to Support Bill for Bone Health Promotion and Research

WASHINGTON, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) in conjunction with the National Coalition for Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases held a briefing on Capitol Hill today to engage Congress in an action plan for making bone health a national priority and encourage lawmakers to sign on to the "Bone Health Promotion and Research Act."

The proposed legislation would create a National Bone Health Program to enhance the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and augment educational activities on bone health at the national and state levels; establish an Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disease Advisory Committee to advise the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH); expand and intensify research activities of the NIH on osteoporosis and related bone diseases; and authorize grants and cooperative agreements to facilitate the collection, analysis and reporting of data regarding osteoporosis.

Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-1st-NV) and Michael C. Burgess (R-26th-TX) provided remarks for the briefing.

"Promoting good bone health and increasing fracture prevention efforts among older Americans are two ways we can help bring the growth in healthcare spending down to sustainable levels," said Congresswoman Berkley. "The 'Bone Health Promotion and Research Act' and the 'Medicare Fracture Prevention and Osteoporosis Testing Act' will help us meet this goal and I will be working with my colleagues in Congress and the healthcare community to build support for the enactment of these important bills."

"As a doctor for over 25 years serving the people of Texas, I know the importance of health education and disease prevention in improving the lives of Americans," said Congressman Burgess. "That's why we are proud to introduce this comprehensive bill for bone health promotion and research. It allows us to improve bone health and directly address osteoporosis as a major public health issue that affects an estimated 44 million Americans."

The National Coalition for Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases, (the Bone Coalition) comprised of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, The Paget Foundation and most recently the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, released in January 2009 a National Action Plan for Bone Health: Recommendations from the Summit for a National Action Plan for Bone Health with input from leaders of major health and public health organizations, health systems, academic institutions, industry, government and media.

The report provides an action plan and agenda to advance bone health promotion and disease prevention for the nation. It is a direct result of the Summit for a National Action Plan for Bone Health held in June 2008 in Washington, D.C.

Ethel Siris, M.D., immediate past president of NOF, professor of clinical medicine with the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center at the Columbia University Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, was joined by Henry Bone, M.D., director of the Michigan Bone and Mineral Clinic, chief of the Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, adjunct professor of the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Medicine at the University of Michigan, to address the four priority areas of the National Action Plan report: developing a bone health alliance; promoting bone health and disease prevention; improving diagnosis and treatment; and enhancing research, surveillance and evaluation.

"Broken bones due to osteoporosis are more common in women than breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes combined," said Dr. Siris. "Osteoporosis and related fractures take a significant physical, emotional and economic toll on our nation. We urge Congress to support this national action plan for bone health, which includes improved patient access to care, and increased support for prevention, education and research programs for osteoporosis and related bone disease."

"We must do better at recognizing and treating osteoporosis," said Dr. Bone. "It is essential that funding be restored for bone density testing for Medicare patients so they can be diagnosed before fractures occur, and we must increase awareness that a fragility fracture often signals an underlying bone disease and should lead to evaluation and treatment."

Linda Johnson, an osteoporosis patient and health advocate, also spoke at the briefing about her long-standing battle with osteoporosis. "I've suffered several fractures because of osteoporosis. I developed stooped over posture and lost two inches in height, which means that my clothes no longer fit properly. My children were even afraid to hug me because I was so fragile. I was in pain and felt helpless and confused," said Ms. Johnson. "I continually talk to people about my experience and encourage them to exercise, eat a balanced diet and talk to their healthcare professional about their bones. Everyone, young and old, including healthcare professionals, needs to make bone health a priority."

During National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month in May, we applaud Representatives Berkley and Burgess and all the Members of Congress who recognize better bone health and osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment as a major component of health reform.

About Osteoporosis

According to NOF, osteoporosis, often referred to as a "silent disease,"(i) is increasing in significance as the population of our nation both increases and ages.(ii) The World Health Organization, the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the U.S. Surgeon General have officially declared osteoporosis a public health crisis.(iii) In fact, osteoporosis and associated fractures are a significant cause of mortality and morbidity.(iv)

  • In the U.S. today, an estimated 10 million men and women suffer from osteoporosis(v)
  • Almost 34 million Americans are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis(vi)
  • Half of women over 50 in the U.S. will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime(vii)
  • Broken bones due to osteoporosis are more common in women than breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes combined(viii)
  • The impact of breaking a bone can be significant and often leads to a downward spiral for the patient
  • By 2025, the annual direct costs of treating osteoporosis fractures in the US are estimated at $25 billion(ix)

Established in 1984, 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 and related fractures, to promote lifelong bone health, to help improve the lives of those affected by osteoporosis, and to find a cure through programs of awareness, advocacy, public and health professional education and research. For more information on osteoporosis and bone health, contact NOF online at or by telephone (800) 223-9994.

(i) National Osteoporosis Foundation. Bone Tool Kit: Available at:, accessed, 3/27/2009: Page #4, Paragraph 4

(ii) Burge R, et al, Incidence and Economic Burden of Osteoporosis-Related Fractures in the United States,

2005-2025. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2007; 22: 465, Paragraph 1

(iii), accessed 3/18/2009: Paragraph #3

(iv) Kanis, OG et al. An Estimate of the Worldwide Prevelance and Disability Associated with Osteoporotic Fractures. Osteoporosis International 2006; 17:1726

(v), accessed, 3/18/2009: Main bullet #5

(vi), accessed, 3/18/2009: Main bullet #5

(vii), accessed, 3/18/2009, Main bullet #26

(viii) Cauley JA et al. Incidence of fractures compared to cardiovascular disease and breast cancer: The Women's Health Initiative observational study. Osteoporosis International 2008;19:1717-23

(ix), accessed, 3/18/2009: Main bullet #28

SOURCE National Osteoporosis Foundation
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