A new name for Osteoporosis Australia with the patient representative group rebranding as ‘Healthy Bones Australia’.
The organisation said the change is designed to reinforce the importance of prevention in response to the 173,000 broken bones sustained by the Australian population in 2020.
It also called on Australians to “prioritise their bone health”. It said the key was learning the risk factors for and how to best prevent brittle bones and osteoporosis.
According to Healthy Bones Australia medical director Professor Peter Ebeling AO, the growing prevalence of osteoporosis and the increasing number of associated fractures means much more must be done to improve public awareness.
“Concerningly, the prevalence of osteoporosis in Australia is on the rise, with more than 4.74 million Australians over 50 years of age (approximately two-thirds of those aged 50+) living with poor bone health.
“Early diagnosis of osteoporosis is vital to reducing fracture rates, and their subsequent impacts and costs. These osteoporotic fractures cost the Australian healthcare system more than $3 billion each year,” said Professor Ebeling.
A forum hosted by Healthy Bones Australia called for heightened community awareness, education, improved diagnosis and management of osteoporosis.
It recommended the "critical need" for readily accessible osteoporosis treatments, improved capture of patients post-fracture through the hospital system, a "substantial increase" in awareness of risk factors and for GPs to focus more on bone health to prevent osteoporosis and fractures.
“The renaming of our consumer organisation to ‘Healthy Bones Australia’ reflects our aim – to protect, build and support better bone health for all Australians,” said Professor Ebeling.
The forum was convened as part of the federal government's National Strategic Action Plan for Osteoporosis.
It is expected that by next year, around 6.2 million Australians over 50 years of age will be living with poor bone health, equating to 183,105 fractures each year.
“Ignoring bone health has severe consequences, including broken bones. This should be avoided by focusing on prevention, which means understanding risk factors for poor bone health, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment,” said the CEO of Healthy Bones Australia, Greg Lyubomirsky.
“Our new name, ‘Healthy Bones Australia’, reflects this goal, while our new resource hub – healthybonesaustralia.org.au – offers the community valuable educational tools. Poor bone health is a public health issue – 173,000 broken bones each year is unacceptable.”