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National Osteoporosis Society (NOS)

Contact Details

Office address National Osteoporosis Society (NOS)
Phone +44 (0) 1761 471 771
Fax +44 (0) 1761 471 104

Last updated on 05/10/2005

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Society News


The National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) is welcoming news of extra funding for bone density scanners, announced today (Monday April 4th) by the Department of Health.

“The announcement on funding for bone density (DXA) scanners is excellent news because the NOS has long campaigned about the patchy access to such scanners in the UK. This money will ensure that areas that still need to purchase DXA scanners will now be able to do so,” said NOS Chief Executive Terry Eccles.

DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scanners measure bone density and are the ‘gold standard’ for diagnosing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis results in bones becoming so porous that they can break very easily. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of the fragile bone disease in the UK.

“The ongoing challenge for the NHS is to afford, recruit and train staff to ensure that new and existing scanners are used to their optimum capacity. Better provision will shorten waiting times which can only be good for patients because this will speed up their access to diagnosis and treatment,” added Terry.

However, it should be noted that this funding is only available for primary care trusts in England and the charity remains committed to campaigning to ensure DXA provision is of an equal standard across the UK.


For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the NOS Communications team on 01761 473102 or email

• Osteoporosis costs the government and NHS £1.7 billion annually, equivalent to £5 million per day.
• People at increased risk from the disease include women who have had an early menopause (before age 45) or with a history of anorexia, men and women treated with long-term or high dose corticosteroids, and those who have broken a bone after a minor bump or fall.


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NOS patron, actor Ross Kemp, supports WOD message of prevention in men

The NOS issued a press release to national and local newspapers and radio stations which focused on the problem of osteoporosis in men. NOS patron, actor Ross Kemp said:“Regular activity is essential to bone health so get out there and play football, go for a jog or head down to the gym and lift some weights, all of these things will help your bones stay strong.
World Osteoporosis Day on the 20th of October is the ideal time to start making the changes to our lifestyles to give us all a better chance of escaping broken bones in the future. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

Ten radio interviews were also given. Posters and leaflets were sent to 400 hospitals, doctors surgeries, schools etc.


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NOS position on HRT

National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) position statement on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as a treatment for osteoporosis

The National Osteoporosis Society welcomes the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh (RCPE) statement on HRT which is useful up-to-date guidance for clinicians on the risks associated with HRT, helping them to advise their patients appropriately.

The NOS looks forward to the publication of consensus guidance by the RCPE for the public, because women themselves are keen to have accurate information to help them make well-informed decisions about using HRT.

Younger post-menopausal women, aged 50 to 60, who decide to take HRT for the relief of menopausal symptoms can be reassured that they are receiving an effective osteoporosis therapy. However they will need to balance risks and benefits carefully and, on stopping HRT, discuss other treatments with their doctor if they are at high risk of fracture.

Scientific advisers within the NOS confirm that HRT can no longer generally be considered the first line treatment for osteoporosis because of increased risks of breast cancer and the potential increased risks of cardiovascular disease. There are, however, other effective treatments such as the bisphosphonates – alendronate, risedronate and cyclical etidronate – and the Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) raloxifene as well as calcium and vitamin D for older frailer women at risk of hip fracture. These are now considered ‘first choice’ treatments for post-menopausal women at high risk of osteoporotic fracture.

For more information, the NOS produces two booklets Drug Treatments for Osteoporosis and Hormone Replacement Therapy for the menopause and osteoporosis or people can ring the NOS helpline on 0845 450 0230.


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Welsh Assembly members hear rising fracture figures

Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, Jane Hutt launched an Osteoporosis and Fracture Prevention Strategy yesterday, devised for Wales by the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) and the Welsh Osteoporosis Advisory Group (WOAG), which lays out a framework for the prevention and management of the disease.

Ms Hutt was on hand to hear that more than 12,000 bones are broken every year in Wales due to the debilitating bone disease osteoporosis.

Said Ms Hutt: “This strategy is vital to ensure that sufferers across Wales receive the best possible treatment.

“Its launch is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness, drive up quality and reduce unacceptable variations in service across Wales. It also shows the strength of commitment the National Osteoporosis Society has in improving services for people with osteoporosis in Wales and their level of commitment to working with AMs and the Assembly to improve health and social care delivery across Wales.”

During the launch attendees heard that:

• there are more than 4,200 broken hips in Wales each year
• seven percent of people with a hip fracture die in hospital within 30 days
• broken hips costs Welsh health and social services £84 million each year
• this cost is set to rise by at least one percent every year because of Wales’ ageing population

Dr Parvaiz Ali, Chairman of WOAG said: “Whilst we can provide a diagnostic service in South Wales, we need to develop the services further, what’s more – looking at that distribution you would think that there were no patients in North, Mid or South West Wales.

“The strategy can only work if the healthcare professionals in the secondary sector, Local Health Boards and the Assembly can work together. It is one of my dreams to make this document a reality.”
NOS Chief Executive Terry Eccles said: “The cost of treating osteoporosis could be reduced by the effective management of this fragile bone disease.
“The NOS strategy sets out guidance for health professionals to prevent and manage osteoporosis within Local Health Boards (LHBs). The NOS would like to see the diagnosis and treatment of this disease improve, with equal access to osteoporosis services across the country.”


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Good food so important for young skeletons

The foods our children eat in early life does affect the health of their skeleton in childhood, research will reveal tomorrow at the Ninth Bath Conference on Osteoporosis.

Preliminary research from a huge study of children growing up in the South West of England has demonstrated a relationship between the amount of energy eaten in the diet by 18-month-old babies and how much their skeleton has grown by the age of nine.

Dr Jonathan Tobias, of the Rheumatology Unit at the University of Bristol, is presenting his team’s research at the internationally renowned conference. Their findings help to shed more scientific light on the importance of healthy eating from birth.

“This is preliminary research from a unique cohort of children so it’s very early days. Our initial findings do show that there is an association between the calorie content of the food they ate at 18 months and the density of the child’s skeleton at the age of nine,” said Dr Tobias, who has received grant funding from the NOS for this important area of work.

“Why that should be needs further investigation. It may be that children with ‘bigger bones’ just eat more. Is it because they are hungrier or is there a genetic influence? There are lots of questions to be asked and following this group of children from before birth as they grow up will help us to find the answers.”

The study examined diet sheets kept by the parents of 757 children, randomly drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). This is one of the biggest long-term studies of children in the world and is tracking 14,000 youngsters ‘recruited’ when their mothers were pregnant.

A total of 7,500 of the children have now had their first bone density scan – at the age of about nine – enabling the researchers to compare diet at 18-months-old to the state of their skeleton as they reach the end of their first decade.

By 18 months, children are generally eating the same food as their parents. Childhood, adolescence and early adulthood are the peak times for ‘banking’ bone – so this is the time to build the maximum amount of strength into our skeleton before the inevitable bone loss which occurs later in life.

This research helps to highlight the importance of what children eat from the beginning of their lives.
The Bath Conference on Osteoporosis is now established as the leading UK conference for scientists and clinicians interested in this bone disease. Its scientific programme has an excellent international reputation attracting delegates and speakers from 25 countries throughout the world.

The Ninth Bath Conference on Osteoporosis is taking place from Monday June 23 to Thursday June 26, 2003, at the Assembly Rooms, Bath.


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Ninth NOS conference gets underway

Scientists and clinicians are gathering in the city of Bath to hear the latest research into the fragile bone disease osteoporosis.

The National Osteoporosis Society is holding the Ninth Bath Conference on Osteoporosis at the famous Assembly Rooms from Monday June 23 to Thursday June 26.

The programme will review recent developments in osteoporosis treatment and research and aims to encourage, inform and stimulate scientists and clinicians to improve the understanding and management of the disease.

Highlights of the biennial event include the educational update on the first day of the conference, bringing doctors and other health professionals up to date on the latest in risk assessment, diagnosis, treatment and ongoing monitoring of the disease.

The four-day conference will also look at the problem of spinal fractures which are worryingly under-reported. Once a post-menopausal woman has had one spinal fracture she is five times more likely to suffer another and has two to three times more chance of breaking her hip. Failure to identify these broken bones in the spine, which contribute to the height loss and spine curvature associated with the disease, means people are not prescribed treatments which would effectively prevent another broken bone.

Osteoporosis in men, hormone replacement therapy and new guidelines for doctors on corticosteroids, used to control conditions such as arthritis and asthma but which increases a person’s risk of osteoporosis, will also be discussed.

A total of 137 research abstracts were considered for inclusion in the conference’s programme. The scientific agenda includes 13 invited lecturers and 44 research papers are being presented to the conference attendees. They will also have the chance to look at a further 81 studies in special poster displays.

The conference will be opened by Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson and NOS Chairman Professor David Barlow.


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National Osteoporosis Society appoints new Chief Executive

The National Osteoporosis Society is delighted to announce the appointment of Terry Eccles as its new Chief Executive.
56 year old Terry joins the National Osteoporosis Society on 1 July 2003, from his position as Deputy Chief Executive of the International Save the Children Alliance.

Terry replaces the former director of the National Osteoporosis Society Linda Edwards who died in December 2002.

Terry said, “I was privileged to meet and work with my distinguished and much loved predecessor Linda Edwards over a period of three years, when I was Chief Executive of another related charity. I know that her style, inspiration, commitment and leadership will be a hard act to follow but I will continue to draw strength from her achievements and the outstanding organisation and network that she has left us.”

He was previously Chief Executive of Coeliac UK, supporting 58,000 members living with intolerance to gluten. He led that charity to Health Charity of The Year in 2002.

Terry also has extensive commercial experience having spent 15 years with the international Mars organisation, latterly as a European Manager.

Terry added, “I am delighted and honoured to be given the responsibility of leading, on behalf of our President and Council, the professional and talented team of staff, volunteers and supporters of the Society during what promises to be an exciting and challenging time of development and accelerating growth.”

Chairman of the NOS Council of Management Professor David Barlow said, “Following the loss of Linda Edwards the Society has been in the reliable hands of our Acting Chief Executive, Jackie Parrington, who has steered us through this time of transition. With the appointment of Terry we shall continue to make progress in addressing the important issues in osteoporosis.”

Terry said, “We face many opportunities with new standards set out in the National Service Framework for Older People. We have a continuing role to play in raising awareness, offering advice and information to those diagnosed with or at risk from osteoporosis, helping them to avoid fractures and enjoy a better quality of life. Our challenges to fund research and promote education for both the public and health professionals are extensive, with the need for sustainable funding being paramount.“


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Charities join forces to highlight osteoporosis risk from breast cancer treatments

The National Osteoporosis Society and Breast Cancer Care are today joining forces to highlight growing fears about the risk for women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer.

Some treatments for breast cancer such as chemotherapy or hormone therapies can affect bone health and concerns are growing that many women who’ve undergone treatments are unaware of the dangers of the fragile bone disease and are even excluding vital bone building nutrients from their diets.

The charities say in particular that younger women may be at increased risk of developing osteoporosis because treatments can cause early menopause and lead to reduced oestrogen levels.

A survey carried out by the two charities found that half of the women with breast cancer who responded said that they made changes to their diet as a direct result of their diagnosis and over a quarter excluded dairy products from their diet – with one third failing to take steps to make up for the loss calcium.

The survey also found that fewer than 5% had been given advice about diet from a health care professional. Most people relied on diet books and the internet for information about diet and breast cancer.

Acting Director of the National Osteoporosis Society Jackie Parrington said “The results of this survey clearly show that women who’ve undergone the experience of being treated for breast cancer aren’t receiving essential information about the impact the treatment may have had on their bone health.”

Jackie added, “I’m very concerned that these women could be at a greatly increased risk of osteoporosis and that many are making things much worse for their skeletons by also taking calcium out of their diet and of their families.”

Breast Cancer Care and the National Osteoporosis Society are now producing a new leaflet for women who may be concerned about their bone health and their risk of osteoporosis as a result of treatment for breast cancer. It explains what osteoporosis is and who might be at risk. It also looks at simple lifestyle changes women can make to protect their bones.
Lecturer in Nutrition at the University of Surrey and member of the NOS Scientific Advisory Group Dr Susan New said, “Cutting out all dairy products, without making a conscious effort to replace the lost calcium and other key micronutrients in the diet, is likely to have a detrimental effect on bone. We know from a number of studies that milk and dairy products are essential 'bone building' ingredients.”

The charities have also produced a paper which encourages health professionals involved in breast cancer treatment to consider the issue of bone health. It also discusses the positive lifestyle measures that women can put in place themselves to protect their bones.

Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Care Samia al Qadhi said, “We have been concerned for some time that women who receive treatments for breast cancer may be making dietary decisions that could have an impact on their bone health. This survey has confirmed our worst fears. We need to ensure that women with breast cancer have access to information and advice from health professionals on bone health and diet to enable them to take informed choices about healthy eating and lifestyle.”

Breast Cancer Care and the National Osteoporosis Society are calling for measures that allow early detection of bone health problems and the provision of appropriate treatment. They suggest that guidelines may need to be introduced that recommend bone density scans for women who have an early menopause caused by their breast cancer treatment.

Dr New added, “A balanced diet plays an essential role in both the development and maintenance of health, and careful attention needs to be given, by both patients and health care professionals alike to encourage consumption of well-balanced, varied diet, containing a wide variety of foods for the main food groups"

The patient leaflet is available from the Breast Cancer Care helpline on 0808 800 6000 or the NOS on 01761 471771.


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Little book gets big launch for National Osteoporosis Society

NOS little book "A Skeleton Guide to a Healthy You"

On 28 February 2002, the NOS launched the first ever little book of information written by a UK charity at The Ritz Hotel, London.

Capitalising on the success of the many different mini books available today such as The Little Book of Calm and The Little Book of Stress the NOS' mini book is an A-Z guide to a healthy diet and lifestyle with a focus on bone health.

A Skeleton Guide to a Healthy You, Vitamins and Minerals is a light hearted 'kitchen drawer' companion to all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet.

It also contains information on exercise, useful facts and figures, tips on healthy living and a useful recipes section which naturally, concentrates on foods which are beneficial to bone health. It is suitable for everyone of all ages.

At the moment the little book is available to buy through the NOS Trading Company for £2.25 inc postage and packing.

NOS President Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles, who has written the foreword to the book says in the publication, “This little book aims to set you on the right route and to act as a quick A to Z guide to all the vitamins and minerals that can help keep your bones and your body healthy.”

Director of the National Osteoporosis Society, Linda Edwards said, “We hope that through this little book we can help inform everyone, young and old, about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. One in three women and one in twelve men, over the age of fifty, will be affected by osteoporosis.”

“A Skeleton Guide to a Healthy You, Vitamins and Minerals” is published by Cameron Wilson Ltd.

For information on stockists, or to receive a copy of the book, priced at £2, excluding postage and packing, please contact the National Osteoporosis Society on (+44) 1761 471 771.

click here to order a copy of the book


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