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The National Osteoporosis Foundation Releases New Data Detailing the Prevalence of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass in the U.S.



With Nearly 57 Million Adults Age 50 and Older Affected by Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass, NOF Announces the Break Free from Osteoporosis Campaign

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) today released new prevalence data estimating that approximately 9 million adults in the U.S. have osteoporosis and more than 48 million have low bone mass (indicated by T-scores between -1.0 and -2.5), placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. The study "The 2010 Burden of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass among Residents of the U.S. Age 50 and Older" was presented at NOF's annual meeting, the Interdisciplinary Symposium on Osteoporosis 2013, taking place in Chicago this week.


This is the first look at the burden of osteoporosis using NOF's criteria for diagnosing osteoporosis based on bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip or spine. Prior to 2005, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) only measured BMD at the hip. Spine BMD was added from 2005-2008, providing the opportunity to estimate the burden of osteoporosis using BMD at either the hip or spine.

"On behalf of NOF and all of our partners working collectively to reduce the burden of osteoporosis, we're pleased to have a new baseline number of those with osteoporosis and low bone mass against which we can measure our progress going forward. With the addition of bone mineral density at the spine, this study represents a new and better measure of the clinical burden of osteoporosis and low bone mass as defined by NOF," said Robert Recker, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "With more than 48 million adults at-risk for osteoporosis, it's more important than ever that we work to ensure preventative measures are taken early in life to protect those with low bone mass from developing osteoporosis and breaking bones."

Assuming osteoporosis and low bone mass prevalence remain unchanged, the study projects that by 2020, 10.7 million adults will have osteoporosis and 58.2 million will have low bone mass. By 2030, the numbers are expected to increase to 11.9 million adults with osteoporosis and 64.3 million with low bone mass.

To help curb the rising toll of osteoporosis, NOF is launching a new national awareness campaign this May for National Osteoporosis Month. The campaign empowers the 57 million Americans currently with and at-risk of the disease to Break Free from Osteoporosis, and encourages everyone to learn their risk factors for osteoporosis and make lifestyle changes to build strong bones for life.

"Osteoporosis is avoidable for many of those at risk. By maintaining a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, doing regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises and by following medical treatments as prescribed, the millions at risk for osteoporosis can protect their bones," said Amy Porter, executive director and CEO, National Osteoporosis Foundation. "While family health history may account for a significant percentage of your risk for osteoporosis, many of the bone breaks that occur each year can be avoided through better prevention and treatment practices."

In this analysis, the sex and race/ethnic specific prevalence estimates from NHANES were multiplied by 2010 US Census population data to calculate the overall burden of osteoporosis and low bone mass among the community dwelling population. The study found that osteoporosis and low bone mass combined are very common conditions in the US. While most of the individuals with or at-risk for osteoporosis are Caucasian women, a substantial number of men and women from other racial and ethnic groups also suffer from osteoporosis and low bone mass.

The overall prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass were highest in Mexican Americans, followed by non-Hispanic Whites, and non-Hispanic Blacks. Overall, an estimated 6.8 million non-Hispanic White, 0.4 million non-Hispanic Black, and 1.1 million Mexican American adults have osteoporosis and another 37.4, 3.2, and 4.3 million have low bone mass, respectively. Prevalence is defined as the number of cases of a specific disease present in a given population at a certain time. Therefore, the prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass in Mexican Americans is highest, but overall, there are fewer people affected because the total number of Mexican Americans is lower than other sub-populations.

NHANES was designed to provide prevalence estimates by race/ethnicity for Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic Whites, and non-Hispanic Blacks only, but NOF recognizes other ethnicities are also affected by osteoporosis and is seeking opportunities to expand research into the prevalence of osteoporosis among other races and ethnicities. NOF also plans to release a state-by-state break down of the research later this year and will release updated numbers including the long term care population this fall.

About the National Osteoporosis Foundation Established in 1984, the National Osteoporosis Foundation is the nation's leading health organization dedicated to preventing osteoporosis and broken bones, promoting strong bones for life and reducing human suffering through programs of awareness, education, advocacy and research. For more information on the National Osteoporosis Foundation, visit

Contact: Valerie Patmintra (202) 320-6388

SOURCE National Osteoporosis Foundation

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