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FIRST ASIA-WIDE OSTEOPOROSIS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

IOF's first TV ad encourages women to take the One Minute Risk Test,
materials aimed at physicians to help them treat patients effectively

Hong Kong
October 18, 2004

The first Asia-wide advertising campaign promoting action against osteoporosis was launched today in Hong Kong.

The campaign, prepared by International Osteoporosis Foundation and its 24 member societies in Asia, urges women to take control of their bone health by taking the "IOF One Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test".

The advertising will appear on television and in print.

In addition, IOF has prepared a special campaign aimed at physicians, to enable them to do an even better job of diagnosing and treating patients with osteoporosis.

The campaign is spearheaded by a TV spot that urges women to take responsibility for their bone health.

In the 30-second public service announcement, the form of one mannequin, representing the one in three women over 50 who will get osteoporosis, suffers the three most common osteoporosis fractures – wrist, spine and hip.

Leading TV stations throughout the region have agreed to broadcast the TV spot without charge. They include CNBC, CNN, Star TV, Discovery Health Channel, National Geographic Channel, MediaCorp News, in print, the International Herald Tribune, and in outdoor media, Clear Channel. In addition, numerous corporate sponsors* will support the campaign in order to generate maximum reach. This donated airtime and sponsorship is valued at around US$ 200,000.

The film, shot in Mumbai, India, was directed by Naren Multani, one of India's leading film makers – he won a One Show Pencil (Silver) in 2002, was a Clio Finalist in 2001, and his first independent film, "Mindgame" has been shown at the New York Short Film Festival and San Francisco Film Festival.

Osteoporosis, when the bones become brittle and break easily, is one of the world's most widespread and debilitating diseases.

In Europe and the United States together, the lifetime risk of hip fracture in women is larger that sum of lifetime risks of having breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk of hip fracture in men is greater than that of prostate cancer.

Speaking at the advertising launch, Daniel Navid, IOF chief executive officer, warned, "Osteoporosis is already a huge health problem in Asia, and getting more serious every day. It is a time bomb ticking -- Asian women and men must take immediate action to protect themselves from fractures and disability."

Osteoporotic fractures are expensive both in terms of human stress and in cost of care. By 2050, 6.4 million people worldwide will suffer a hip fracture annually, with 51% of these fractures occurring in Asia. In China, one in six men have one or more vertebral fractures.

Prof. Edith Lau, president of Hong Kong Osteoporosis Foundation and an IOF Board member said, "Asians are at high risk of osteoporosis. We have a lower bone density, we don't get a calcium-rich diet as children and we increasingly lead a sedentary lifestyle." She noted that in Hong Kong, 45% of women aged 65 and above have osteoporosis, while 42% of them have low bone mass (osteopenia). A total of 300,000 women and 70,000 men who are 50 years and older suffer from osteoporosis, as defined by the WHO criteria. In 2001, 8 in every 1000 women and 3 per 1000 men fractured their hip. The death rate for hip fractures is 10 percent and 50 percent become disabled due to the hip fracture.

Yet about half of hip and vertebral fractures can be prevented, if the disease is treated promptly and adequately, Dr. Lau said. Both diagnosis and treatments of osteoporosis are painless, simple and easy, but doctors need to be informed, which is one of the objectives of the part of the campaign aimed at health professionals.

Prof. Annie Kung, president of Osteoporosis Society Hong Kong, urged people to take responsibility for their bone health by taking the IOF One Minute Risk Test. She said, "Osteoporotic fractures often result in a loss of productivity and mobility. Only by regularly checking our bone density can we Asian women be sure we will be able to retain our independence. The TV spot will alert women throughout Asia that they can easily find out if they are at risk of osteoporosis by taking the risk test."

Similar launches are planned in other Asian countries.

The film and the campaign's coordination and launch were realized through services donated by agencies within the Interpublic Group of Companies. Torre Lazur-McCann Healthcare Worldwide, a member of the IOF's Committee of Corporate Advisors, provided coordination support and connected their affiliates with IOF member osteoporosis societies throughout Asia to initiate the campaign in local markets. McCann Healthcare also developed the creative concept and produced the television commercial. The launch event and media relations were undertaken by Weber Shandwick, the world's largest public relation agency.

ENDS

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