ARLINGTON, VA, (MAY 29, 2019) — In the United States, half of all women and 20 percent of men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime and many will die or be forced into nursing homes as a result. In fact, bone fractures related to osteoporosis are responsible for more hospitalizations than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined. Yet this common, costly and growing problem is often left undiagnosed and untreated. To combat this growing crisis, 13 leading national organizations representing millions of older Americans, family caregivers and women’s health advocates are launching a new effort to raise awareness among the public and policymakers about the problem and ways to solve it.
The new Coalition to Strengthen Bone Health is united around a set of guiding principles and joined together in shared commitment to raise awareness and drive policy that advances these goals:
• Raising awareness about the importance of bone health, its impact on patients, caregivers and taxpayers, and cost-effective steps that can be taken to optimize bone health, prevent fractures and improve health outcomes.
• Putting an end to the stigma and ageism associated with osteoporosis to assure that bone health gets the high priority and attention it deserves.
• Ensuring access to affordable, high-quality, age-appropriate bone health screening and treatment.
• Replicating and appropriately incentivizing best practices in care management and coordination for those who have suffered bone fractures.
“We are excited that such a strong and diverse group of organizations is joining forces to tackle this big and growing problem,” said Elizabeth Thompson, CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, which is coordinating the group. “For far too long, the osteoporosis crisis has not gotten the attention it needs and deserves.”
Approximately 10 million Americans age 50 and above have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk for bone fracture. Yet 80 percent of older Americans who suffer bone breaks are not tested or treated. If no action is taken, by 2040, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for more than three million fractures annually resulting in $95 billion in costs.
In June, the Coalition will be releasing the results of a major new economic analysis of the impact of osteoporosis and bone fractures on older Americans and the Medicare program. The Coalition will also be working to identify evidence-based policy solutions that could both improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
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.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org.