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New report shows disease is more serious in men than previously estimated; Australian celebrities and sports stars join the global fight against the "silent epidemic"

SYDNEY, Australia
October 13, 2004

Osteoporosis in men is much more widespread than previously estimated, according to a new report issued today to mark World Osteoporosis Day.

Worldwide, one in five men over 50 will have an osteoporosis fracture, according to Osteoporosis in Men, a report issued by International Osteoporosis Foundation and released in Sydney, Australia.

In Australia the rate is even higher, where one in three men over 60 will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis. This is a rate similar to that of women, which is generally estimated worldwide as one in three for women over 50.

The lifetime risk of a man suffering an osteoporotic fracture is greater than his likelihood of developing prostate cancer.

The report is written by Ego Seeman, professor of medicine at University of Melbourne, IOF International Board member and editor of Progress in Osteoporosis.

In his foreword Professor Seeman notes that "osteoporosis does not just occur in women...and men who sustain fractures may suffer more severely in terms of the quality and quantity of their lives than when fractures occur in women." A major problem, he points out, is that "most men, most doctors and most governments are not aware of the problem of osteoporosis in men. But osteoporosis does not show any sex discrimination. It is an equal opportunity disease."

IOF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Navid, speaking at the report's launch, noted that while it is routine for a male patient to be examined for risk factors relating to heart disease, cancer and stroke, physicians rarely check for osteoporosis and fractures. "We encourage individuals to take the IOF One Minute Risk Test, and if they have risk factors, consult their doctors for further tests and treatment," Navid added.

Global activities to fight the "silent epidemic"

Osteoporosis in men is the theme of the 2004 World Osteoporosis Day, held October 20. IOF's 167 members in 85 countries and locations prepare activities to generate awareness about the fight against osteoporosis.

In Australia, more than 300 noted sports stars and celebrities participated in the 'Blokes, Bones & Breaks' launch of World Osteoporosis Day. "It was great to see so many notable sports and media personalities supporting this event to help raise awareness. It is vitally important to alert men, not only in Australia, but internationally about their bone health," said Judy Stenmark, chief executive officer of Osteoporosis Australia.

A complete description of World Osteoporosis Day activities can be found on the IOF website:


Osteoporosis, in which the bones become porous and break easily, is one of the world's most common and debilitating diseases. The result: pain, loss of movement, inability to perform daily chores, and in many cases, death. One out of three women over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one out of five men (1,2,3). Unfortunately, screening for people at risk is far from being a standard practice. Osteoporosis can, to a certain extent, be prevented, it can be easily diagnosed and effective treatments are available.

1 Melton U, Chrischilles EA, Cooper C et al. How many women have osteoporosis? Journal of Bone Mineral Research, 1992; 7:1005-10
2 Kanis JA et al. Long-term risk of osteoporotic fracture in Malmo. Osteoporosis International, 2000; 11:669-674
3 Melton LJ, et al. Bone density and fracture risk in men. JBMR. 1998; 13:No 12:1915

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a worldwide organization dedicated to the fight against osteoporosis. It brings together scientists, physicians, patient societies and corporate partners. Working with its 167 member societies in 85 locations, and other healthcare-related organizations around the world, IOF encourages awareness and prevention, early detection and improved treatment of osteoporosis.

For further information, please contact:
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski, Head of Communications,
International Osteoporosis Foundation:
Tel. +41 22 994 0100
Fax. +41 22 994 0101

Judy Stenmark
Chief Executive Officer
Osteoporosis Australia
Tel. +61 2 9518 8140
Fax. +61 2 9518 6306

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