Women Leaders Call for Global Action on Osteoporosis

Participants in 2nd IOF Women Leaders Roundtable identify action needed by individuals, health care professionals and government health authorities, sign Call to Action

On June 2, 2006 nine prominent women from around the world called for action by government policy makers, health professionals and individuals to fight the silent epidemic of osteoporosis.

"We are here because osteoporosis is a major global problem and it is time to get people to stand up and speak out on this serious disease," said Justine Pasek, one of the speakers at the event, whose statement reflected the tone of the gathering.

The women, who come from the fields of public service, journalism, medicine, fashion and the arts, politics, philanthropy, and sports, were speaking at the 2nd IOF Women Leaders Roundtable, held in conjunction with the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Toronto.

The participants included:

  • Moderator: Dr Marla Shapiro, Canada, associate professor University of Toronto,Family and Community Health, family physician, TV and print journalist
  • Australia: Maxine McKew, journalist, TV host, patron of Osteoporosis Australia
  • Canada : Maureen McTeer, medical law specialist, human rights advocate, author, patron of Osteoporosis Canada
  • China: Alice Chiu, prominent philanthropist, founder and director, Sheen Hok Charitable Foundation, Hong Kong
  • Italy: Lella Costa, theatre actress, osteoporosis advocate
  • Panama: Justine Pasek, Miss Universe 2002, patron of Fundacion de Osteoporosis y Enfermedades Metabolicas Oseas (Panama Osteoporosis Foundation)
  • United Kingdom: Baroness Julia Cumberlege, member House of Lords, former UK health minister, prominent osteoporosis advocate
  • USA: Peggy Fleming, Olympic Gold Medalist and former world champion in figure skating, TV sports analyst, osteoporosis advocate
  • USA: Dr Ethel Siris, president of National Osteoporosis Foundation (USA), IOF Board member

In their Call to Action, signed by all the participants, the women specifically urged:

Women and men worldwide to:

•Engage in a “bone-friendly” lifestyle, including appropriate exercise programs, nutrition and attention to risk factors
•Insist that their health care professionals provide the best care possible

Health care professionals to:

•Improve their knowledge about how their field of specialty relates to osteoporosis
•Spend the time to advise patients about osteoporosis prevention and treatment
Government health officials to:
•Recognize osteoporosis as a health priority
•Pay for bone density scans and improve the availability of bone densitometry machines for people with osteoporosis risk factors before the first fracture.
•Pay for proven therapies for people with osteoporosis before the first fracture.

The 2nd IOF Women Leaders Roundtable was convened, in part, because while women around the world may be aware of osteoporosis, they seriously underestimate its prevalence and therefore they may not consider themselves to personally be at risk.

The 1st IOF Women Leaders Roundtable was held in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2002.