Latin America Policy Initiatives

Osteoporosis is growing in incidence and prevalence in Latin America.  According to WHO projections, over the next 50 years, there will be an increase in the population aged 65 and older such that the number of hip fractures will be similar to numbers in Europe and the United States. 

Unfortunately in Latin America, resources in terms of adequate medical facilities for osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment are inadequate and, in most countries, there are no policies in place to ensure reimbursement of densitometry tests or medication.

A regional Audit report published by IOF in 2012 revealed the heavy burden of osteoporoiss and fractures on the region.

Download the Latin American Regional Audit


In order to increase awareness of the growing problem osteoporosis represents for the region it is necessary to target not only the general population, but also to draw the attention of health professionals and politicians and be able to exert influence on both the public and private healthcare systems, encouraging them to develop specific osteoporosis awareness, prevention and treatment programs.  IOF works closely with its members in Latin America in order to ensure that osteoporosis awareness becomes a priority.

With new research studies and a growing body of epidemiological data, many countries in Latin America are now able to quantify the burden of osteoporosis. For example, major epidemiological reviews were published for Argentina and Mexico (2010) in the journal Archives of Osteoporosis. Download:

IOF is supporting the publication of similar studies in other Latin American countries and will publish an audit report for the region in 2012.

IOF supports the Latin American Vertebral Osteoporosis Study (LAVOS), a project which covers 11 countries. The project has already produced a final protocol including standardization procedures for the questionnaire, x-rays, bone densitometry. An operation manual has also been developed. Infrastructure has been set up, including a morphometry centre in Mexico, a DXA quality assurance (QA) centre in Brazil and a coordinating centre established in Mexico.

A report on the burden of osteoporosis in Latin America can be found in the following publication:

Morales-Torres J, Gutierrez-Urena S, Osteoporosis Committee of Pan-American League for Associations of Rheumatology. The burden of osteoporosis in Latin America. Osteoporos Int 2004;15(8):625-32. (PDF, 205.4 KB)

National guidelines

Read the list of osteoporosis guidelines for the Latin America region. Note, the International Osteoporosis Foundation does not endorse country guidelines. This is because osteoporosis prevalence and aspects of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporotic fractures are country-specific. There may be multiple guidelines from any one country.

Facts and statistics

Read facts and statistics on osteoporosis and fractures in the Latin America region.