Today on World Osteoporosis Day, new survey reveals 90% of adults are unaware of men's risk for osteoporosis

man blindfolded
Osteoporosis can lead to painful fractures, disability and early death, but continues to be ignored by the general public and neglected by doctors during routine physical check-ups.

New survey findings released on World Osteoporosis Day by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), show that on average, 90% of 13,258 adults questioned are unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men. With one in five men aged 50 years or over affected, the data confirm that although common, serious and potentially life-threatening, osteoporosis remains a vastly underestimated and neglected health issue. The multi-national survey, carried out in men and women from 12 countries showed that this ignorance was universal and independent of gender or geography.

Prof. John Kanis, President, IOF, said

The sad reality is that by not knowing their risk, men are leaving themselves vulnerable to a future of pain, disability and possibly even early death. The problem is being further exacerbated by doctors not addressing the bone health of their patients during routine check-ups.”

According to the survey, men in the 50+ age group who had had a check-up were 18% less likely than women of the same age to have any form of bone health assessment. This difference was even more pronounced in certain countries, including USA (31%), South Africa (30%), Brazil (30%), Belgium (23%) and Spain (22%).

The survey conducted by YouGov in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom, and USA revealed that:

  • 90% were unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men: 73% underestimated the risk of fracture in men and a further 17% said they ‘didn’t know’.
  • 71% of those aged 50+ (the population group most affected by the disease) underestimated the risk of osteoporosis in men.
  • Only 8% of men, compared to 10% of women, aged 50+ correctly estimated that osteoporotic fractures affect approximately one in five men worldwide – when the results of all countries were averaged. UK had the lowest level of awareness with only 3% answering correctly, followed by Belgium (6%), Jordan (6%), USA (7%), Spain (8%), UAE (8%), India (9%), Brazil (11%), Australia (12%), South Africa (14%), Mexico (18%), and China (20%). It must be noted that although there are national and regional variations in the osteoporosis burden, the majority of those surveyed vastly underestimated risk.    
  • An average of 53% of male respondents aged 50+ who had visited a doctor for a routine physical check-up said that they had never had any form of bone assessment during a check-up, including: been asked about 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 35% of women aged 50+.

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.
*Please contact us for detailed survey facts

About World Osteoporosis Day
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.

World Osteoporosis Day is supported globally by unrestricted educational grants from Amgen, UCB, Fonterra, Lilly, MSD, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare