Bone Education Resource Center International Osteoporosis Foundation
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Name of education programme
Bone Builders: An Osteoporosis Awareness Programme

Originating organisation
Southern California Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation (SCCAF).

SCCAF is not an IOF member; it is pleased to be able to work with the IOF as a friend that shares an interest in osteoporosis education. Osteoporosis is of course not a form of arthritis. Since osteoporosis is sometimes a consequence of rheumatic diseases or medications used, osteoporosis has long been a disease covered by SCCAF educational programmes.

Sue Shatzel
Programme Director
Arthritis Foundation
Southern California Chapter
17155 Newhope Street, Suite A
Fountain Valley CA 92708

Tel:+1 714 436 1623
Fax:+1 714 436 1625

Description of the programme
Bone Builders is a series of educational activities that teach participants about osteoporosis and teach and encourage diet, exercise and lifestyle choices that support the growth of strong bones. Girls and young women earn a Bone Builders patch if they complete certain activities. The programme is divided into four age-group levels and activities are age appropriate.

Bone Builders has two formats: (a) an instructor/student format using written materials which contain activities that are completed over the course of weeks, and (b) a half-day programme (a mini-camp) where participants are involved in an intensive series of activities over several hours. For information and materials, please see

Is the programme still running?

Target audience
Girls aged 5-17 years
Boys aged 5-17 years

Has the programme been approved by your scientific advisory committee?

What worked well
Bone Builders was originally conceived as a Girl Scout patch programme. It is easily adapted to other environments with school-age groups. The two-tiered approach of having adult volunteers lead the programme allows us to reach adults and children with the important message of good bone health. The response from adults and children involved in this training has been very enthusiastic. The activities component has been especially well received.

Visual examples and presentations in the programme had the most positive effect on the girls and young women. They are able to see and understand what osteoporosis is, and what they can do to help prevent it. An example of this is to ask girls and young women if they know any older individuals who have broken a bone. The affirmative response was very important in helping the girls and young women make the connection between their actions today and possible future consequences. The web site ( gives the ability to print materials directly, which has made the programme easier to share.

What didn't work well
Some participants felt that the badge programme required the Girl Scouts to make a significant time commitment, especially in the older troops. However, not all activities have to be completed.

Type of information and material available
Leaflets (a flyer)
Illustrations, cartoons and graphs
Internet site ( – available on CD-rom)
Other: slides available on the web site as a training slideshow or as 35mm slides, leader training manual, participant workbooks (for each level), bookmarks, stickers, buttons and patches.
Questionnaire: Bone Builders will be evaluated in the next round of programmes held in New York. Troop leaders and Girls Scouts who complete the programme will be asked to fill in questionnaires assessing their osteoporosis knowledge, self-efficacy, physical activity level and calcium intake before and after completion of the programme.

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

Languages in which the material is available


Corporate sponsors
Merck & Co, Inc

Other partners
Girl Scout Council of Orange County, California
Girl Scouts of Greater New York City
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), New York City*
Dairy Council of New Jersey
Dairy Council of California
New York State Osteoporosis Prevention & Education Programme (NYSOPEP)*

* Bone Builders is being offered in New York City by HSS as part of NYSOPEP

Did the programme use celebrities, role models or mentors?
Adult volunteers who are trained to lead the Bone Builders programme serve as role models.

Is the programme suitable for other countries?
The programme has been discussed with individuals from many countries as a result of contacts made at the WCO 2000 and ASBMR (Toronto 2000) and through our web site. These individuals feel that the programme is suitable for their country.

Caveat: There is significant cultural diversity in the US. We ask all those who implement the programme in the US to consider whether they need to modify the programme to fit local needs. We will make the same request to any group that uses the programme outside of the US. For example, we anticipate dietary recommendations and food 'pyramids' would address local concerns and consider local food sources.

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