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Majority of Male Adults Unaware of Osteoporosis Risk

  • Published: 2014-10-22 : Author: National Osteoporosis Foundation : Contact:
  • Synopsis: New survey findings show that on average, 93 percent of adults surveyed are unaware how common osteoporotic fractures are in men.

Quote: "With one in five men age 50 or older affected by osteoporosis, the data confirm that while osteoporosis is common, serious and potentially life-threatening, it remains a vastly underestimated health issue."

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Osteoporosis is responsible for nearly two million broken bones every year, but continues to be ignored by the public and neglected by doctors...

New survey findings released by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) for World Osteoporosis Day show that on average, 93 percent of nearly 1,200 adults surveyed are unaware how common osteoporotic fractures are in men.

With one in five men age 50 or older affected by osteoporosis, the data confirm that while osteoporosis is common, serious and potentially life-threatening, it remains a vastly underestimated health issue. To address the issue of osteoporosis in men, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is teaming up with IOF to launch "Real Men Build Strength from Within," a year long awareness campaign calling on men to embrace better bone health.

New data released by IOF earlier this month showed that one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men, with mortality rates as high as 37 percent in the first year following fracture, making men twice as likely as women to die after a hip fracture. Named the "weaker sex" in terms of death and disability caused by osteoporosis, the condition is often undiagnosed and untreated in men following fracture, making them vulnerable to early death and disability regardless of fracture type. In fact, a U.S. study found that men were 50% less likely to receive medical treatment to prevent a fracture than women.

"It's a myth that osteoporosis is only a woman's disease," said Amy Porter, CEO and Executive Director of NOF. And with doctors not addressing the topic of bone health with their male patients, men don't know they may be at risk for osteoporosis and are left vulnerable to broken bones and the pain and loss of independence that comes with osteoporosis."

According to the survey, men in the 50+ age group who had a health check-up were 31% less likely than women of the same age to have any type of bone health assessment. The survey conducted by YouGov also revealed that:

93% were unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men: 68% underestimated the risk of fracture in men and an additional 25% said they "didn't know".

65% of those age 50+, the age group most affected by osteoporosis, underestimated the risk of osteoporosis in men.

Only 7% of men, compared to 8% of women, age 50+ correctly estimated that osteoporotic fractures affect approximately one in five men worldwide.

An average of 70% of male respondents age 50+ who had visited a doctor for a routine physical check-up said they had never received any type of bone health assessment, including: been asked about their bone health; had risk factors for osteoporosis discussed; questioned if they had previously broken a bone; or had been referred for a bone mineral density test. This compares to 39% of women age 50+.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and more likely to break. Both spine and hip fractures lead to higher death rates in men compared to women, yet fewer than 20% of men who fracture are being assessed or treated for osteoporosis. If healthcare professionals identified men with osteoporosis after their first bone break, it could dramatically reduce their risk of future fractures and early death.

"Estimates show that the lifetime risk of breaking a bone in men over age 50 is up to 27%, which is higher than the risk of developing prostrate cancer. Despite the high prevalence, too few resources are being invested in fracture prevention and too few men with risk factors are being screened by bone density measurements," said Robert F. Gagel, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "This lack of commitment to fracture prevention is a major failing of the U.S. healthcare system and leads to increased health care expenditures, morbidity and mortality. We have proven, cost-effective solutions available, like Fracture Liaison Services, that can help identify those at-risk for osteoporosis and protect them from the continuous cycle of broken bones."

About the Survey:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample sizes were as follows: Australia (1000), Belgium (1000), Brazil (1001), China (1031), India (1045), Jordan (1001), Mexico (1032), South Africa (502), Spain (1029), United Arab Emirates (1026), United Kingdom (2424), USA (1167). Fieldwork was undertaken in July 2014*. The survey was carried out online. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in the respective country.

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

World Osteoporosis Day is observed annually on 20 October, and marks a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases -

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is the world's largest NGO dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF members, including 225 patient, medical and research societies, work together to make bone, joint and muscle health a worldwide health-care priority -

To learn more about World Osteoporosis Day and the survey results, visit

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