IOF Osteoporosis Risk and Nutrition Awareness Survey

IOF survey shows good general knowledge of nutrition and bone health but confusion about vitamin D; half unaware that osteoporosis is more common amongst women than breast cancer.
The survey showed that calcium is widely recognized as being important to bone health Smoking and excess drinking were the least well-known risk factors for osteoporosis

An on-line survey carried out in May and June 2006 among 1200 worldwide employees of the Interpublic Group and their friends and families showed a generally high level of osteoporosis awareness. The survey looked specifically at the respondents’ knowledge about the condition, its prevalence and causes, risk factors, extent of personal risk and how diet can help to prevent the condition.

The vast majority of respondents knew that calcium is important for building bones, that osteoporosis is characterized by brittle bones (95%), that poor diet is a contributing factor (85%) and that women are most at risk (81%). Respondents had a reasonable sense of their own personal risk: Half think they are at least somewhat at risk from osteoporosis. Two in five know somebody personally with the condition and one in four know a family member with it. Almost one fourth know that it affects one in three women.

Drinking excess alcohol and smoking were the least well-known risk factors for osteoporosis.

Although calcium was widely recognized as a bone-building nutrient (99%), only one in three knew that Vitamin D is also essential to bone health. Overall, knowledge of the Vitamin D content of foods was sketchy. The presence of this nutrient in oily fish, eggs, liver, red meat and cod liver oil is less well-known.

Dairy products were the foods most commonly associated with being good sources of calcium. However, there was only limited knowledge that other foods, such as steamed tofu and almonds, contain good levels of this nutrient. There was confusion about sunlight as a source of calcium: 56% in Asia Pacific believed incorrectly that sunlight was a good source of calcium (compared to 31% in Europe and 34% USA).

Whilst the majority of respondents are aware of the disease 75% of the men and women asked did not know that it affects one in three women. Without appreciating the disease's prevalence, people will not take it seriously and take the necessary steps to help prevent it. What is more, 50% were unaware that osteoporosis is more common amongst women than breast cancer.

Download Survey