Did you know, the prevalence of osteoporosis is on the rise, with more 4.74 million Australians over the age of 50 living with poor bone health?
Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to reduced bone strength and increased risk of fracture. This disease occurs when bones lose density and quality, leading to weakness in the skeleton and can affect an individual’s quality of life.
Today Osteoporosis Australia announced its official rebrand as ‘Healthy Bones Australia’ to reinforce the importance of prevention, in response to the concerning 173,000 broken bones sustained by the Australian population last year.
The patient organisation also called for Australians to “prioritise their bone health”, by learning the risk factors for, and how to best prevent, brittle bones and osteoporosis.
“Early diagnosis of osteoporosis is vital to reducing fracture rates, and their subsequent impacts and costs. These osteoporotic fractures cost the Australian healthcare system more than $3 billion each year,” Medical Director of Healthy Bones Australia, Professor Peter Ebeling AO, told us..
“The renaming of our consumer organisation to ‘Healthy Bones Australia’ reflects our aim – to protect, build and support better bone health for all Australians,” he said.
According to Deputy Chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, Healthy Bones Australia, Dr Weiwen Chen, educating target populations about the risk factors for osteoporosis is critical to ensuring earlier diagnosis of the disease, reducing fracture rates, and curbing their impact and cost.
“Public health messaging about the importance of prioritising and maintaining healthy bones tailored to those aged 50 and over with risk factors, younger adults with specific risk factors, and those who have sustained a fracture, is very important.
“Evidenced-based, consumer resources are vital, alongside core services, such as a national website, a toll-free helpline, risk factor fact sheets and online self-assessment tools, all of which are available free of charge from Healthy Bones Australia,” Dr Chen said.
“These resources remain critical, together with targeted awareness campaigns, particularly given COVID-19 restrictions have shown online access to credible health information is highly valued.”
With around 6.2 million Australians over 50 years of age expected to be living with poor bone health by 2022 the projected total cost of poor bone health among these Australians will be $3.84 billion, compromising ambulance services, hospitalisations, emergency department and outpatient services, rehabilitation, aged care, and community services.
CEO of Healthy Bones Australia, Greg Lyubomirsky believes we must focus on prevention, which means understanding risk factors of poor bone health, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
“Our new name, ‘Healthy Bones Australia’, reflects this goal, while our new resource hub – healthybonesaustralia.org.au – offers the community valuable educational tools. Poor bone health is a public health issue – 173,000 broken bones each year is unacceptable,” said Mr Lyubomirsky.
About Healthy Bones Australia
Healthy Bones Australia, formerly Osteoporosis Australia, is a national not-for-profit organisation, and the leading consumer body charged with reducing broken bones and improving bone health across Australia. Healthy Bones Australia was established in 2001 in response to the growing number of Australians with poor bone health, and the lack of health focus on preventing osteoporosis. Healthy Bones Australia focuses on increasing community and health professional awareness, and advocating to government to reduce the impact of the osteoporosis nation-wide.
To learn more about Healthy Bones Australia, head to www.healthybonesaustralia.org.au.