Public Release:  IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies opens in Helsinki

Distinguished women leaders open conference, urge 'strong bones for strong women' to reduce the growing burden of osteoporosis and fractures

International Osteoporosis Foundation

More than 140 delegates from 45 countries have joined the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) and the Finnish Osteoporosis Association for the 14th IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies. The conference is being held until June 2nd at the Helsinki Congress Paasitorni.

Osteoporosis, known as the 'silent' disease, causes bones to become progressively weak, fragile, and easily prone to fracture even after a minor bump or fall. Worldwide, one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a broken bone related to osteoporosis. Fractures can have severe consequences, causing immobility, stooped spine, long-term disability and even premature death in seniors.

Under the motto 'Strong Bones for Strong Women', three distinguished women spoke at the opening session of the Conference. Baroness Judith Jolly, member of the House of Lords, UK; Barbara Lybeck, Finnish TV and radio host; and Sirpa Pietikänen, Finnish Member of the European Parliament, encouraged delegates to utilize their collective strengths to influence health policy, and to make use of media and public awareness in order to motivate women to take action for bone health.

"Osteoporosis is of particular concern for postmenopausal women, the population group at highest risk of suffering fractures due to osteoporosis. Women are the pillars of strength for their families and communities, and we must motivate them to follow bone-healthy lifestyles and ensure early diagnosis in order to set the foundation for strong bones in older age," said IOF President Judy Stenmark.

Organized by IOF since 1998, the IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies is the most important forum for the development of the global osteoporosis patient movement. Delegates attend sessions and interactive workshops that cover topics such as policy development, fundraising for NGOs, effective marketing for osteoporosis prevention and new developments in osteoporosis management. By exchanging ideas for successful campaigns, learning new skills and hearing about the latest clinical developments, the patient society delegates are able to improve their effectiveness at the national level.

Dr. Harri Sievänen, President of the Finnish Osteoporosis Association, stated, "Osteoporosis is a major health problem not just in Finland, but around the world. Patient societies play a critical role in raising awareness of osteoporosis within the general public and in giving patients the support and information they need to manage the disease. We at the Finnish Osteoporosis Association are honored to welcome other dedicated patient advocates from all regions of the globe and to assist the IOF in staging this important global meeting."

"The International Osteoporosis Foundation celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2013, and we congratulate the organization for their continued efforts in leading the global osteoporosis community," he said.

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About IOF

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is the world's largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF members, including committees of scientific researchers, leading companies, as well as more than 200 patient, medical and research societies, work together to make bone, joint and muscle health a worldwide heath care priority. http://www.iofbonehealth.org

About FOA

The Finnish Osteoporosis Association (FOA) is a national association for public health, patients and physical education which acts as an umbrella organization for 19 member societies and 3600 members across the country. FOA aims to promote bone health and healthy lifestyle, prevent osteoporosis and fractures, promote research, and enhance the care and rehabilitation of patients with osteoporosis and fractures. For further information visit http://www.osteoporoosiliitto.fi/

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