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For immediate release

QUEEN RANIA OF JORDAN URGES SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER OSTEOPOROSIS AWARENESS

Her Majesty accepts position as patron of International Osteoporosis Foundation

17 November 1999
PARIS, France

Calling osteoporosis "a major health problem that requires urgent attention," Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan accepted the role of patron of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, IOF.

In an international press conference in Paris announcing her appointment, Queen Rania noted that, unless action is taken today, the number of hip fractures in the Middle East will triple in the next 20 years.

Stressing the need to ensure that children and young women have proper diets and enough exercise in order to strengthen their bones, Queen Rania urged that significantly greater efforts be made towards osteoporosis education and public awareness activities.

Osteoporosis is a non-communicable disease in which bones become fragile, breaking easily. It is estimated that only one out of two osteoporotic spinal fractures are properly diagnosed, indicating the need for considerably greater public awareness among health care professionals and the general public.

Ghassan Maalouf, secretary general of PAOS-Pan Arab Osteoporosis Society, noted at the press conference that the lifetime risk of a hip fracture in women is greater than the sum of lifetime risks of having breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. In the European Union, someone has a fracture as a result of osteoporosis every 30 seconds.

While acknowledging the tremendous financial costs to health care systems resulting from osteoporotic fractures, Queen Rania stressed that we must not lost sight of the human cost in terms of suffering and loss of productivity that results from osteoporosis. Her Majesty noted that "interestingly, osteoporosis is, to a certain extent, preventable and can be effectively treated." She added "osteoporosis is a disease that we can do something about – there's hope."

With 96 member national societies in 56 countries, IOF is the world's largest union of organizations working to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

Explaining why she took on the role of patron, Queen Rania said "I've been impressed by IOF's approach which combines a business-like organization with a great spirit of 'let's go out and get things done.' Their member national societies – I'm most familiar with the national societies in Jordan and Lebanon – are very exciting and energetic, and I'm sure we'll have a productive working relationship together.

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