Public Release: 

Greece shows its support for the fight against bone, muscle and joint diseases

Patient advocates from 36 countries to meet in Athens for the IOF 15th Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies

International Osteoporosis Foundation

September 9, 2015 - Athens, Greece - Patient society representatives from all regions of the world will gather in Athens, Greece for the opening of the 15th IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies (IOF-WWC) on Friday September 11.

The bi-annual event is a key opportunity for patient advocates to share best practice and exchange knowledge on the growing burden of musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoporosis.

The Conference, organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) in cooperation with the Butterfly Bone Health Society, will be officially opened by Dr Fotis Patsourakos of the Medical Association of Athens. It will also be attended by local celebrities including actress Yvonni Maltezou and Chef Niki Merkouri, who will be cooking bone-friendly recipes for delegates during the conference.

Osteoporosis is a chronic disease which causes bones to become weak and fragile. Worldwide, approximately one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis. Musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis affect over 1.7 billion people worldwide and are the second greatest cause of years lived with disability.

Judy Stenmark, CEO, IOF stated, "These diseases pose an immense human and socio-economic burden for our ageing societies, and the number of sufferers is set to increase dramatically as the population ages. That's why this conference is so important. It is an opportunity for patient societies to learn new strategies that will help raise awareness and make education and treatment more accessible to patients in need."

A 2010 study showed that in the European Union approximately 22 million women and 5.5 million men aged between 50-84 years may have osteoporosis by 2025, corresponding to an increase of 23%. The disease burden in Greece alone is immense. Approximately 86,000 new fragility fractures occur annually and some 640,000 people aged 50 and over are estimated to have osteoporosis. The economic burden of new and prior fractures is more than €680 million each year and, due to the ageing of the population, this is expected to increase by 20% to around €814 million in 2025.

Organized by IOF since 1998, the IOF-WWC is the most important forum for the development of the global osteoporosis patient movement. The two-and-a-half day programme will include lectures, workshops, panel discussions and award presentations. By exchanging ideas for successful campaigns, learning new skills, and hearing about the latest advances, the patient society delegates are able to improve their effectiveness at the national level.

Ms Memi Tsekoura, President of the Butterfly Bone Health Society stated, "We are delighted to host this highly-regarded conference. The volunteers, who work on behalf of patient societies worldwide, carry out outstanding work at the grass roots level in their countries. They actively promote professional and public health education as well as lobbying on behalf of patients with chronic, serious diseases. This conference serves not just to enhance the skills of these non- profit organizations and their volunteers, it also gives them recognition for their highly important work."

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The IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Society is taking place at the President Hotel Athens from September 11-13, 2015. The Conference is supported by independent grants from Agnovos Healthcare, Amgen, California Prune Board (Europe) and MSD.

Media contacts

Butterfly Bone Health Society: Tatiana Drakopoulou, Communications Director; Tel: +30 213 20 86 697; Mob: +30 6944 86 49 69; email: tatiana@osteocare.gr

International Osteoporosis Foundation: Charanjit (Chaz) Jagait, PhD, Communications Director; Tel.: +41 22 994 01 02; Mob.: +41 79 874 52 08; Email: cjagait@iofbonehealth.org

About the International Osteoporosis Foundation

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to the worldwide fight against osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF's members - scientific researchers, patient, medical and research societies and industry representatives from around the world - share a common vision of a world without osteoporotic fractures. IOF, with headquarters in Switzerland, currently includes 232 member societies in 98 countries, regions and territories. Among its numerous programmes and activities, IOF mobilizes the global osteoporosis movement on World Osteoporosis Day, marked on October 20 every year.

http://www.iofbonehealth.org ; http://www.facebook.com/iofbonehealth; http://twitter.com/iofbonehealth; #IOFWWC15

About the Butterfly Bone Health Society

The Butterfly Bone Health Society is the only non-profit society working across Greece which is directed at the general public. Founded in 1999, the Society's primary objective is to inform the public about osteoporosis, diet and nutrition, physical activity, psychological well-being, prevention, menopause and general skeletal health. The Society maintains strong collaborations with osteoporosis-related scientific agencies, as well as the Musculoskeletal Disorders Research Laboratory at the University of Athens' School of Medicine. In association with these groups, the Society performs epidemiological and other studies in order to gather data on osteoporosis. It also provides key information and support via a wide range of activities, which include workshops, conferences and informational brochures that address crucial issues related to skeletal health. A longstanding member of the IOF, the Society was awarded twice. Firstly, with the prestigious IOF Linda Edwards Memorial Award in 2007 in recognition of its outstanding achievements and secondly with the "Best Media Campaign" award in 2013 in Helsinki, Finland. http://www.osteocare.gr/

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