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Tuesday, April 6, 2004 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4634

April 6, 2004


Washington, D.C.- A new survey reveals that even though the majority of women aged 45 and older have at least two risk factors for osteoporosis, only 15 percent of those women not diagnosed by a doctor believe they are at risk for the disease. The new survey was conducted by Roper Public Affairs and Media on behalf of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging (AoA).

The survey tested women’s knowledge of osteoporosis, the actions they take to keep their bones healthy, their overall concerns about aging, as well as the information sources they rely on and their perception of personal risk of developing osteoporosis. A total of 500 telephone interviews of women, a representative sample of the U.S. population of women 45 years and older, were conducted from July 8 through August 12, 2003.

“Women need to know their health risk for osteoporosis and what they can do to prevent the disease,” said Josefina G. Carbonell, Assistant Secretary for Aging. “While we know that effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies exists for osteoporosis, many women have not taken action. At AoA, we want to reverse this trend. We want women empowered on this issue and we want them taking action to prevent this debilitating disease,” Carbonell added.

The top risk factor cited for osteoporosis among survey respondents was having normal or early menopause. Other risk factors, increasing the likelihood for developing osteoporosis, were being small boned or thin, having a family history of osteoporosis, a history of smoking, leading a sedentary or inactive lifestyle and currently smoking cigarettes.

According to the survey, many women, more than four out of ten, are not talking to their doctor about osteoporosis or keeping their bones healthy. Over half (54 percent) of the women age 45 to 54 are not doing so due to a lack of concern about the issue or a belief that their doctor would bring it up “if it were important.” The margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points of the total sample.

NOF was one of three organizations with extensive experience in the area of osteoporosis research and education who received grants to assist AoA better educate and raise awareness about osteoporosis among women, especially post-menopausal women.

For more information on the survey and osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment, please go to