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National Osteoporosis Foundation

MARKING THE SILENT KILLER

Cape Town, April 2005 - The National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa (NOFSA) has today announced plans to launch a newly patented licensing programme in the form of a certification mark. Producers and manufacturers of calcium supplements, dairy products and other products as well as services deemed worthy enough of combating osteoporosis, will be invited to display the NOFSA Certification Mark on all marketing collateral as well as packaging after a rigorous testing and scientific trials by the Foundation. To date pharmaceutical giants, Novartis created in 1996 from the merger of the Swiss companies Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz, as well Pharma Natura, which specialises in the manufacture of mineral supplements, have confirmed their intention to participate.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced, causing the skeleton to become weak and increasing the risk of fracture, particularly of the spine, pelvis, wrist and hip. NOFSA CEO, Tereza Hough says that education is vital in preventing this irreversible condition as certain vitamins and minerals could help prevent it. Often referred to as the silent killer, the certification mark will act as a constant reminder to consumers that this disease is preventable.

"Consumers are urged to keep a look out for the various products that are better for your health and have been approved by The National Osteoporosis Foundation to prevent this silent killer to which everyone is at risk. It is essential to take precautions early in life to prevent or at least slow down the complications of the disease, which take effect later in life," she said.

Hough said the National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa had dedicated many passionate years to communicate awareness around this silent disease that attacks the bones leaving them brittle and frail. Many are at risk - one out of four postmenopausal women and one out of eight men develop osteoporosis, and many people are still unaware of the critical effects that osteoporosis has on their bones and future.

"An adequate calcium intake is one of the important lifestyle factors that helps with the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and one should ensure a calcium intake of about 1000mg per day" states Hough.

Hough said there was a misperception that osteoporosis was exclusively an elderly white woman's disease: "Osteoporosis is a silent killer, and although it does affect mostly old, white ladies, no ethnic group or age group is spared. Young people, especially those with eating disorders or hormonal problems, frequently develop osteoporosis and half of all hip fracture victims in this country are males!"

The National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa was established in 1993 and has grown to become the nation's leading voluntary health organisation solely dedicated to osteoporosis and bone health.

To help fight this preventable disease by endorsing the newly released certification mark, please contact The National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa on 021 - 931 7894 or for further information visit www.osteoporosis.org.za

15.04.2005


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