Nationwide Survey Shows Women with Osteoporosis Expect to be Active as They Age But Are Not Doing Enough to Stay 'Strong To The Bone'

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Lack of action prompts nationwide campaign to encourage better bone health

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They should then use this knowledge to speak to their healthcare professional about a personalized treatment plan that may work best for them. There are postmenopausal osteoporosis treatments that can help to manage the condition effectively.

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A new nationwide survey conducted by Harris Interactive of over 1,000 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis found that about one in three women had not currently been prescribed medication and more than half reported they do not know enough about this potentially serious disease.

The survey was released today by the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA), a leading national advocate for women's health made up of over 3,500 female physicians.

Women surveyed also reported that they do not want to slow down as they age, yet nearly half believe they are not doing enough to maintain their physical health.1 Fifty-seven percent of the respondents reported they do not consistently do weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or dancing, which helps to keep bones strong.1

The lack of knowledge and action related to bone health revealed by the survey could have consequences because one in two women older than 50 is predicted to break a bone due to osteoporosis in her remaining lifetime.2 Fractures could be directly or indirectly responsible for potential pain and disability.

To address the disconnect between women's expectations and actions, AMWA and Pam Peeke, M.D., an international health and fitness expert, have launched Strong to the Bone, a nationwide awareness campaign to urge better bone health and encourage women to take steps to avoid fractures. The campaign kicks off during the month of May, National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, and is sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

"More than 80 percent of the surveyed women diagnosed with postmenopausal osteoporosis feared loss of independence.1 One bad break can have personal, social and economic consequences,2" said Diana Galindo, M.D., a geriatrician and immediate past president of AMWA. "The survey also shows a direct relationship between knowledge and action; those who are the most knowledgeable about postmenopausal osteoporosis are the most likely to follow a healthy diet, do regular weight-bearing exercise, and have regular bone density testing.1"

To help women learn more about staying Strong to the Bone, the campaign website Strong to the Bone includes a five-minute assessment to help evaluate women's personal osteoporosis risk and provides recommendations for better bone health.

"Women should take the online osteoporosis assessment to empower themselves with information that can help them keep their bones strong," said Dr. Peeke, author of the bestselling book, Fit to Live. "They should then use this knowledge to speak to their healthcare professional about a personalized treatment plan that may work best for them. There are postmenopausal osteoporosis treatments that can help to manage the condition effectively. "
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone structure resulting in reduced bone strength and increased risk of fracture, particularly at the hip, spine, and wrist.2

About the Survey1
The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in partnership with the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA), a leading national advocate for women's health made up of more than 3,500 female physicians. The survey was conducted online between February 28 and March 10, 2008. Of the 3,563 invitations delivered, a total of 1,539 responses were received, resulting in a 43% participation rate. Among those who responded, 1,010 completed surveys were received from respondents who met the screening criteria of being a U.S. postmenopausal woman aged 55+ diagnosed with osteoporosis. The data have been weighted to reflect age, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. The data include women from urban (29 percent), suburban (39 percent) and rural (32 percent) locales as well as from every region of the country.

Highlights of survey results include:

  • 30 percent of women diagnosed with postmenopausal osteoporosis reported that they have not been prescribed medication.
  • Only 46 percent considered themselves knowledgeable about osteoporosis, despite having been diagnosed with the condition.
  • 90 percent agreed that they do not want to slow down as they get older.
  • Maintaining physical health (93 percent) and spending quality time with family (93 percent) were both ranked as the most important factors for overall happiness in the next 10 years.
  • A substantial number of women surveyed (38 percent) did not fear breaking a bone in the future, however 78 percent recognize that it could mean loss of mobility and independence. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, fifty percent of women older than 50 will break a bone in her remaining lifetime due to osteoporosis.
  • 62 percent of surveyed women reported that they fear breaking a bone in the future. Of women who had already experienced a fracture (18 percent), 78 percent reported that they fear another break in the future.

About AMWA
The American Medical Women's Association is an organization that functions at the local, national, and international level to advance women in medicine and improve women's health. AMWA is dedicated to providing and developing leadership, advocacy, education, expertise, mentoring and strategic alliances. For more information, visit AMWA.

About the Sponsor
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is a New Jersey based pharmaceutical company that produces prescription drugs used to treat a number of diseases and conditions, including those in the cardiovascular, metabolic, cancer, organ transplantation, central nervous system, dermatological, GI and respiratory areas. The company's mission is to improve people's lives by pioneering novel healthcare solutions. The company recently launched a treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis.

1 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Postmenopausal Osteoporosis Survey. Harris Interactive Inc. March 2008.
2 National Osteoporosis Foundation. Fast Facts on Osteoporosis Brochure. February 2008.    
3 Reclast® (zoledronic acid) Injection [Prescribing Information]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; August 2007.

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Sarah Vellozzi

Rebecca Mathis
American Medical Women’s Association
(215) 320-37166
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