World Osteoporosis Day

Generating global media and public interest in musculoskeletal health

October 20 marked the pinnacle of a year-long campaign to draw global attention to the issue of osteoporosis in men. Although one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men – causing greater morbidity and higher mortality rates than in women – the male population is far from being adequately diagnosed or treated. The campaign ‘Real men build their strength from within’ therefore sought to dispel the myth that osteoporosis is a ‘woman’s disease’ by alerting men to the fact that appearances can be deceiving: men who look strong, may actually be weak on the inside due to poor skeletal health. The campaign also put a spotlight on the serious socio-economic burden of the disease in men, presented key facts, and urged action for prevention and treatment.

WOD 2014 theme


Peter Ebeling
We must act now to ensure men not only live longer but also have a future free of the pain and suffering caused by osteoporotic fractures.
Peter Ebeling, IOF Board Member

Hallmarks of a successful campaign

For the first time, a comprehensive 32-page toolkit was produced and made available to members and the public. The toolkit outlined key messages and was segmented according to target audience, providing a broad range of ideas for events and the dissemination of WOD campaign materials. Hosted on a dedicated World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) website, the campaign featured a wealth of different resources and communications to maximize media outreach and messaging targeted at the general public, health-care professionals and health authorities. Communications throughout the year were magnified by ongoing use of social media. This resulted in:


increase in WOD website views


increase in WOD Facebook page ‘likes’


increase in press centre views


increase in reported WOD activities

  • More than 800 online and print articles generated from IOF press releases alone (based on global outreach only)
  • Media reach of over 2 billion in more than 35 countries

Dynamic resources for community outreach

The general public was invited to download campaign posters, an educational brochure and report, fact sheet and an infographic. The resources were provided in nine languages and IOF member societies were invited to use the IOF artwork for their own national campaigns around the world.

Expert report on osteoporosis in men

Osteoporosis in Men: Why change needs to happen

The report ‘Osteoporosis in Men – why change needs to happen’ was authored by leading expert and IOF Board member Professor Peter Ebeling, it showed how the ability of men to live independent pain-free lives into old age is being seriously compromised by osteoporosis. The known risk factors and treatment strategies that relate to osteoporosis in men were highlighted with the aim of motivating health-care professionals and policy makers to take action to reduce the disease burden.

Public outreach through community events and local campaigns

IOF’s global WOD campaign is accompanied by community events and local campaigns at the national level in all regions of the world. In 2014 IOF member patient and medical societies, hospitals, clinics, schools and companies worldwide carried out varied events, many of which were featured in the World Osteoporosis Day website. Through IOF and community efforts, millions of consumers, patients, health professionals and policy makers received important prevention messages.

Cordoba, Argentina

First World Osteoporosis Day survey

An IOF multi-national survey, carried out in men and women from 12 countries showed that on average, 90% of 13,258 adults questioned were unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men. The survey also revealed that an average of 53% of male respondents aged 50+ who had visited a doctor for a routine physical check-up had never had any form of bone health assessment whatsoever. The survey results confirmed that although common and potentially life-threatening, osteoporosis remains a vastly underestimated and neglected health issue in men worldwide.