Bone Education Resource Center International Osteoporosis Foundation
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Name of education programme
Healthy Bones – A Safe Future

Originating organisation
National Centre of Hygiene, Medical Ecology and Nutrition and Foundation Women Without Osteoporosis

Professor Fanny Ribarova PhD
National Centre of Hygiene, Medical Ecology and Nutrition
15 D Nestorov Blvd
1431 Sofia

Tel:+359 2 58 12 238
Fax:+359 2 92 81 277
E-mail:  F.Ribarova@NCH.Aster.Net

Description of the programme
The programme is a school-based project aimed at the prevention of adult osteoporosis. The National Centre of Hygiene, Medical Ecology and Nutrition started the project in September 2000 in three schools in Sofia. The foundation Women Without Osteoporosis is acting in a consultancy capacity on the project. Foundation works with women while the school programme builds on awareness raised by the foundation. The first stage of the school programme evaluates children's attitude and behaviour towards bone health and their knowledge about osteoporosis and its prevention. The second stage presents information about nutrition and physical activity, aimed specifically at the target age group. This stresses the role weight bearing physical activity and healthy nutrition play in good bone health. Five leaflets, written for children and adults, provide information on osteoporosis specific risk factors, such as low physical activity and low calcium intake, and outline programmes for physical activity and balanced nutrition.

Starting in 2001, the school programme was strengthened by the use of children's drama and Bulgarian folklore dances groups, teachers' workshops, a school lunch cookbook and an exhibition designed to foster the transfer, from the school environment to the home, of nutritional information. A poster, radio broadcasts, press releases and a conference were used to reach the general population and to reposition the generally held perception of osteoporosis from that of a chronic disease in the elderly to a preventable condition in childhood. A training module on osteoporosis and preventive strategies starting in early adolescence, for GPs and school health professionals, is in preparation.

Is the programme still running?

Target audience
Girls aged 10-14
Boys aged 10-14

Has the programme been approved by your scientific advisory committee?

What worked well
All materials elicited interest from students, teachers and parents, and led to requests from other schools and towns in Bulgaria. A network has been organised, which includes the 29 Regional Hygiene and Epidemiology Inspectorates and School Health Services, to plan a nationwide programme.

What didn't work well
Finding sponsorship for free milk distribution was difficult.

Type of information and material available
Video (in preparation)
Press releases
Illustrations, cartoons, graphs
Internet site (in preparation)
Other: training module (in preparation)

Are you willing to provide material and advice to other IOF members?

Languages in which the material is available


Corporate sponsors
The scientific input is state financed.

Other partners
Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Foundation Women Without Osteoporosis.

Did the programme use celebrities, role models or mentors?

Is the programme suitable for other countries?

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