As patron of Osteoporosis Canada for many years, I am pleased that we have successfully changed the image of osteoporosis as a disease of elderly women, a group who historically have had neither economic nor political clout –to a disease that can strike us all whether we are men or women, young or old.
The world's population is ageing at an accelerated rate. Declining fertility rates and improvements in life expectancy over the latter half of the 20th century have produced dramatic growth in the world's elderly population. As a consequence, the burden of osteoporosis and bone, muscle and joint disorders is increasing markedly.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) works to influence policy makers when they create law, distribute resources, and make other decisions related to bone, muscle and joint health. IOF’s goal is to promote prevention, while increasing accessibility to the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and bone, muscle and joint disorders.
IOF collaborates with national societies and organizations active in the field of bone, muscle and joint health to raise awareness amongst policy makers, and to educate healthcare professionals and the public. At an international level, the IOF has been granted Roster Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and it organizes policy events and supports the development of national economic white papers.
Policy change successes include:
- Implementation of the Eight Recommendations, which make the prevention of osteoporosis and related fractures a governmental health care priority in European Union Member States.
- Launch of the European Union Osteoporosis Consultation Panel and European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group.
- Development of landmark regional epidemiological audits.