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LATIN AMERICA WILL SEE GREATEST GLOBAL SURGE IN OSTEOPOROSIS.
Urgent need to educate physicians; simultaneous interpretation and reduced registration fee for Latin American physicians at IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Rio

NYON, Switzerland
May 26, 2003

Latin America will experience the greatest surge in osteoporosis fractures in coming years compared to other regions, International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) announced today.

Dr Rene Rizzoli, chairman of the IOF Committee of Scientific Advisers said: "Osteoporosis affects millions of people in Latin America and we must do what we can to relieve the suffering caused by this disease."

IOF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Navid urged physicians from Latin America to attend the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, which will be held May 14-18, 2004 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "In order to ensure the greatest possible turnout, we will offer reduced registration fees and simultaneous interpretation into Spanish and Portuguese of plenary sessions to our Latin American colleagues attending the Congress.

Added Rubem Lederman, IOF Board member from Brazil and executive president of the 2004 IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis: "This is the first time the bi-annual Congress has been held in Latin America. It is an exceptional opportunity for my regional medical colleagues to come to Rio to learn and share information on the latest developments in osteoporosis diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology."

How serious is osteoporosis in the region? In Mexico during 1998, of the more than 24.5 million people who were diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, only 150,000 patients, one in 16, received treatment. Just 2% of the 15 million Brazilians who need osteoporosis treatment receive adequate care. People in Venezuela will experience 67 hip fractures per day by 2030; one out of six Venezuelans dies within the first four months following a hip fracture.

WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?

With osteoporosis the bones become brittle and fracture easily. It is one of the world's most widespread and disabling diseases, affecting one in three women and one in eight men worldwide. Every 30 seconds someone in the European Union fractures a bone due to osteoporosis.

In many affected people, bone loss is gradual and without symptoms or warning signs until the disease is advanced. Osteoporosis is a global problem which is increasing in significance as the population of the world both grows and ages.

There are many misconceptions about osteoporosis, for example that it is "an old woman's disease". In fact, bone loss in women can begin as early as age 25. Worldwide, the lifetime risk for a woman to have an osteoporotic fracture is 30-40%. In men the risk is about 13%.

Osteoporosis is a widespread public health problem. The costs to national healthcare systems from osteoporosis-related hospitalization are staggering. In several European countries, for example, osteoporosis is responsible for more hospital days for women over 45 than any other disease. In the next 50 years, the number of hip fractures for both men and women will more than double. Even so, osteoporosis was not precisely defined as a disease until 1994. The World Health Organization (WHO) has since identified osteoporosis as a priority health issue along with other major non-communicable diseases.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 14-18, 2004.
The previous IOF World Congress, held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2002, attracted more than 5,400 participants.

Accredited journalists will be offered free registration.

Online registration, abstract submission and information about the meeting at: www.iofcongress.org

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