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Prof. Rita Süssmuth calls on health authorities to take action against osteoporosis

World Osteoporosis Day press conference in Berlin launches ‘Move it or Lose it’ report.

October 20, 2005, Berlin

Health authorities worldwide should set up programs that make it easy for people to exercise, noted Rita Sussmuth, She added that exercise, besides being important for general health, is essential for building and maintaining strong bones.

Speakers included (from left) Prof. Rita Süssmuth, Paul Sochaczewski (IOF), Dr. Jutta Semler, Daniel Navid (IOF CEO), Wojtek Czyz and Prof. Helmut Minne.

Dr Sussmith, former president of the German Bundestag, was speaking at the global launch of World Osteoporosis Day.

The event, based on the World Osteoporosis Day theme of ‘Move it or Lose it’ was organized in Berlin on October 20, 2005 by the National Initiative Against Osteoporosis (NIO) with support from International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF). See full press release

Speakers included NIO patron Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth, Paralympic gold medal champion Wojtek Czyz, IOF CEO Daniel Navid, and Prof. Helmut Minne, author of the new IOF report ‘Move it or Lose it: How exercise helps to build and maintain strong bones, prevent falls and fractures, and speed rehabilitation’ who outlined the main messages of the new report.

In addition leading experts spoke at the press conference, emphasizing the importance of exercise for bone health and osteoporosis prevention, and discussing the specific problems regarding osteoporosis management in Germany. The experts included Dr. Jutta Semler of the NIO, Prof. Wolfhart Puhl of the Bone and Joint Decade, Dr. Siegfried Götte of the Berufsverband der Fachärzte für Orthopädie, and Prof. Reiner Gradinger, Prof. Wolf Mutschler, and Dr. Hermann Locher.

Prof. Süssmuth stressed that the theme ‘Move it or Lose it’ should not just be understood as a call for people to begin exercising for better bone health, but that it is also a call on health authorities to take action on behalf of the millions of people who are at risk of, or suffering from, osteoporosis.

Read speech (PDF, 18 KB)

Paralympic champion Wojtek Czyz (gold medal winner in long jump, 200 meters,100 meters in 2004 Olympic Games in Athens) spoke about his personal experience, in which he lost part of one leg in a football accident. He told about how his positive outlook and strong will (“Don’t think about what you were, but what you are and what you want to become”) has helped him overcome tragedy and achieve success in sport. He called on all disabled people to practice sports and exercise as much as possible. In a related Public Service Announcement, also released today by IOF, Wojtek noted that he couldn’t have achieved his goals without strong bones. Finally, addressing those young people who scorn exercise and sport, he said, “You don’t know what you’re missing. Sport isn’t just important to maintain a healthy skeleton, sport will enrich your life.”


The German National Initiative Against Osteoporosis is an alliance against osteoporosis which was founded by the DVO (the umbrella organization of German scientific osteology-related societies), the DOP (the umbrella organization of osteoporosis self-help groups and patient societies), and the Bone and Joint Decade, with support from IOF. By joining forces, the NIO initiators hope to raise awareness of the osteoporosis treatment deficit in the country. Up to six million people in Germany are suffering from osteoporosis, making it the most common chronic disease in the country. Yet fewer than 25% of people with osteoporosis receive adequate treatment. The goals of the initiative are to improve recognition that osteoporosis is one of the most common chronic diseases; ensure that diagnostic and treatment options for patients at risk of osteoporosis are available before the first fracture; improve quality of care of osteoporosis patients in order to help prevent osteoporotic fractures; strengthen patient self-help and to establish adequate preventive measures for those groups within the population at high risk of osteoporosis.

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