Survey shows 90% of adults unaware of menís risk for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can lead to painful fractures, disability and early death, but continues to be ignored by the general public and neglected by doctors during routine physical check-ups

Nyon, Switzerland (October 20, 2014) - Embargoed until 09:00h CET

New survey findings released on World Osteoporosis Day by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), show that on average, 90% of 13,258 adults questioned are unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men. With one in five men aged 50 years or over affected, the data confirm that although common, serious and potentially life-threatening, osteoporosis remains a vastly underestimated and neglected health issue. The multi-national survey, carried out in adults from 12 countries showed that this ignorance was universal and independent of gender or geography.

Prof. John Kanis, President, IOF, said "The sad reality is that by not knowing their risk, men are leaving themselves vulnerable to a future of pain, disability and possibly early death. The problem is being further exacerbated by doctors not addressing the bone health of their patients during routine check-ups." According to the survey, men in the 50+ age group who had had a check-up were 18% less likely than women of the same age to have any form of bone health assessment. This difference was even more pronounced in certain countries, including USA (31%), Brazil (30%), Belgium (23%) and Spain (22%).

The survey revealed that:

  • 90% were unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men: 73% underestimated the risk of fracture in men and a further 17% said they 'didn't know'.
  • 71% of those aged 50+ (the population group most affected by the disease) underestimated the risk of osteoporosis in men.
  • Only 8% of men, compared to 10% of women, aged 50+ correctly estimated that osteoporotic fractures affect approximately one in five men worldwide - when the results of all countries were averaged. UK had the lowest level of awareness with only 3% answering correctly, followed by Belgium (6%), Jordan (6%), USA (7%), Spain (8%), UAE (8%), India (9%), Brazil (11%), Australia (12%), South Africa (14%), Mexico (18%), and China (20%). It must be noted that although there are national and regional variations in the osteoporosis burden, the majority of those surveyed vastly underestimated risk.
  • An average of 53% of male respondents aged 50+ who had visited a doctor for a routine physical check-up said that they had never had any form of bone assessment during a check-up, including: been asked about bone health; had risk factors for osteoporosis discussed; questioned if they had previously broken a bone; or had been referred for a bone mineral density test. This compares to 35% of women aged 50+.


Media contact

Charanjit K. Jagait, IOF
Phone +41 79 874 52 08, cjagait@iofbonehealth.org

About the survey

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Fieldwork was carried out online in July 2014* in the following countries/sample sizes: Australia (1000), Belgium (1000), Brazil (1001), China (1031), India (1045), Jordan (1001), Mexico (1032), South Africa (502), Spain (1029), United Arab Emirates (1026), United Kingdom (2424), USA (1167). Figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in the respective country.

*Survey fact sheet: www.worldosteoporosisday.org/press-centre

World Osteoporosis Day, observed annually on 20 October, marks a year-long campaign www.worldosteoporosisday.org

World Osteoporosis Day is supported globally by unrestricted educational grants from Amgen, UCB, Fonterra, Lilly, MSD, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare

About International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF)

IOF is the world's largest NGO dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. www.iofbonehealth.org