Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman and television icon Kerri-Anne Kennerley are urging politicians and their constituents to ‘Know Your Bones’ this World Osteoporosis Day.
The ambassadors also staged a photo call with politicians at Parliament House, Canberra, following a bi-partisan ministerial roundtable on osteoporosis.
Co-hosted by Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt and Shadow Minister for Ageing Julie Collins, the roundtable unpacked the impact of the condition and strategies for fracture prevention.
The roundtable homed in on fracture liaison services, which involve coordinated efforts to identify and treat fracture patients for osteoporosis.
Professor Mark Cooper, deputy chair of the Osteoporosis Australia Medical Committee, said it sounds easy to organise such a service in principle but it has proved difficult to implement across countries, states and health services.
Cooper said anyone who’s had a fracture is at a much higher risk of having a further fracture.
“If you’ve had a fracture then we would like people to consider the possibility of osteoporosis or general skeletal fragility, but we know that only happens in about one in five situations,” he said. “A fracture liaison service hopes to get that number up towards 80 to 100 per cent of people, where the possibility of weak bones is considered.”
The peak said Australians will sustain up to 160,000 fractures this year due to poor bone health, with costs reaching more than $3.1 billion. Currently, 66 per cent of the population aged over 50 is estimated to have poor bone health.
Freeman said as with many chronic conditions, prevention is better than a cure. “Exercise, particularly weight bearing and resistance exercise, is recognised as one of the most effective lifestyle strategies to help make bones as strong as possible.”
Kennerley said: “I was blessed with strong bones, although my mother had osteoporosis, but having taken drugs to fight breast cancer, those drugs leached my bones, so I found myself osteopenic, which is the stage before osteoporosis.
“Find out early and be aware is my best advice.”
Osteoporosis Australia also used the opportunity to direct people to its online bone health self-assessment resource. It can be accessed here.Do you have an idea for a story?
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