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24 October 2009

The rising trend of osteoporosis worldwide indicates a need for greater awareness to improve bone health in Singapore
Guest of Honour, Minister of State, Mr Heng Chee How,Prime Minister s Office, delivers the keynote address at a public forum to mark
World Osteoporosis Day, organised by Osteoporosis Society,Health Promotion Board and KK Women s and Children s Hospital

Hip fractures increased by 25% between 1990 and 2000 worldwide. By 2050, this is projected to increase by 310% in men and 240% in women.

Generally, one in five people die within a year of sustaining a hip fracture, and one in three becomes dependent on others for their daily needs.

In Singapore, the need for greater awareness of good bone health becomes imperative in light of its rapidly ageing population. In 2005, one in 12 residents was 65 years or older. By 2030, this will increase to one in five being 65 years or older.

A study conducted by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) in 2005 showed that 7 in 10 Singaporeans knew the seriousness of osteoporosis. However, only one in 10 could cite the two ways to prevent osteoporosis, which are regular exercise and a high-calcium diet. 80% of Singaporeans did not know that exercising regularly could prevent osteoporosis. A 2005 survey by the Singapore Sports Council showed that 61% of Singaporeans aged 55 and above were sedentary three months preceding the survey.

In a community screening carried out by KK Women s and Children s Hospital among elders aged 60-years and above, 98% of those who underwent a Bone Mineral Density Measurement were found to have abnormal results, needing further intervention. At such a high rate, there could be many more in the community with osteoporosis, that are undiagnosed.

In conjunction with World Osteoporosis Day, three organisations have come together to run a public forum on osteoporosis and ways to improve bone health on 24 October, held at KK Women s and Children s Hospital, with Minister of State, Mr Heng Chee How, Prime Minister s Office, delivering the keynote address as guest of honour. The three organisations include by Osteoporosis Society (Singapore) (OSS), Health Promotion Board (HPB) and KK Women s and Children s Hospital (KKH).

The forum will highlight a little known fact that bone mass is built up early in life, particularly before the age of 30, when bone mass peaks. Titled, Stand Tall, Speak up for your bones , the forum will also feature screening sessions, and a nutrition and exercise workshop.

HPB, OSS and KKH have been running educational and screening programmes for greater awareness of osteoporosis and its preventive measures.

For example, HPB s osteoporosis prevention education programmes cover a wide age band ranging from guidelines to encourage adequate provision of milk at childcare centres, competitions in schools to create high-calcium snack recipes, to strength training workshops for the elderly, osteoporosis prevention talks and workshops for employees, supermarket tours and healthier high-calcium culinary classes for the community.

OSS, a volunteer organisation, runs public forums at the heartlands and community health screenings, and provides subsidies to needy patients for medication, transport, and equipment such as motorised beds and wheel chairs.

KKH proactively identifies patients who may be at risk of osteoporosis early and recommends appropriate management before a fracture occurs. The Hospital also partners grassroot and social organisations to raise awareness of osteoporosis and has reached more than 500 seniors in the community.

Together, the three organisations address the adage that Osteoporosis + Falls = Fractures with preventive measures and management of the disease.

Jointly issued by Osteoporosis Society, Health Promotion Board and KK Women s and Children s Hospital