Sally speaks on osteoporosis story on Capitol Hill

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The Society for Women's Health Research and the National Osteoporosis Foundation held a briefing on Capitol Hill to inform lawmakers about recent advances in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Actress Sally Field, an osteoporosis patient and advocate, spoke at the briefing and encouraged women to protect themselves against fractures so they can remain active and reduce their risk of a debilitating injury.

“Eighty percent of the 10 million Americans affected by osteoporosis are women,” said Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, president and CEO, of the Society for Women's Health Research, a Washington, D.C., based non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of all women through research, education and advocacy. “That is why we are working to raise awareness of this issue during National Women's Health Week. Although the disease most often strikes the elderly, there are steps you can take early in life to protect and improve your bone health. We hope that Congress will join us in supporting increased education and funding for care in this important area.”

Ethel Siris, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the nation's leading non-profit organization dedicated solely to osteoporosis and bone health, spoke about protecting and strengthening bones at all ages.

“During Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month in May, the National Osteoporosis Foundation reminds us that osteoporosis is both beatable and treatable, yet it remains a major public health issue for more than half of all women and a quarter of all men over 50 in the U.S.,” said Siris, who is also professor of clinical medicine with the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center at the Columbia University Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, N.Y. “Moreover, since peak bone mass typically occurs between the ages of 18 and 25, it is important for individuals to build strong bones through physical activity, exercise and good nutrition, including adequate calcium and vitamin D. As a nation and as individuals, we must work to reduce the burden of fractures in our country and to prevent this disease in future generations.”

“Osteoporosis was the farthest thing from my mind, because I've always tried to eat right, exercise and be active,” said Field. “I'm challenging women to do the right things for their bones.”

Laura Tosi, M.D., director of the Bone Health Program at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and a Society for Women's Health Research board member, spoke about the progress and goals of bone health research.

“Broken bones frequently rob individuals, particularly seniors, of their independence,” Tosi said. “Modern bone research seeks to understand what makes bones strong and thus how to prevent fractures in order to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in the activities they love best across their entire lifespan.”

The briefing was made possible with support from Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.

http://www.womenshealthresearch.org/

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