ROCKVILLE, MD – July 23, 2010 – Influenced by the U.S. Surgeon Generals report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis, two nationwide groups formed a partnership in 2006 that is a model of collaboration. This weekend, that partnership is being renewed and invigorated. The National Association of Commissions for Women, the professional organization for over 200 commissions for women who are committed to equality and justice for women, providing support and expertise and serving as their national voice, developed Healthy BONES, to educate women on the devastating effects of osteoporosis and the opportunity for prevention and treatment. The United States Bone and Joint Decade, an initiative that includes many healthcare professional societies and patient advocacy groups, had developed Fit to a T, a public education program on bone health and osteoporosis. Together they have held two dozen sessions of Fit to a T, for hundreds of women.
In 2008 and 2009 the NACW member Baltimore County Commission for Women and Baltimore County Department of Aging completed a countywide educational project at 20 county senior centers to help both men and women better identify their risk for osteoporosis using Fit to a T. Coordinated teams of Commissioners, doctors, health educators and Senior Center Directors gave interactive presentations over a two-month period to 323 attendees. We had the connections with the senior centers, and reaching out to their residents is an important part of the NACWs mission. Using its network the Decade worked with the University of Maryland to put together a team of healthcare professionals who presented Fit to a T. The whole arrangement worked beautifully, and at no cost to the participant, says Jackie Wilson, NACW Board Member. Other sessions have been held in Fairfax, VA, Asheville and Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, and Louisville, KY.
The U.S. Surgeon Generals report, published in 2004, called for actions like these, and specifically mentioned opportunities for collaborative efforts. There is no question that the collective and complimentary talents of both the public and private stakeholders will be vital to achieving the goal of improving the bone health status of all Americans, the report said.
The Surgeon Generals Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis identified osteoporosis as a significant threat to public health, projecting that by 2020, fifty percent of all Americans will suffer from some form of osteoporosis unless changes are made to our diet and lifestyle. The Surgeon General reports that with good habits, and medical attention when needed, we can have strong bones throughout our lives. People who have weak bones are at higher risk for fractures. Bone Health can be improved by getting enough calcium, vitamin D and physical activity. Fit to a T helps participants assess their risk for osteoporosis, or they can talk to their doctor.
The NACW and USBJD hope that more Commissions and local communities will want to organize Fit to a T sessions as a result of its partnership, and thus educate many more women throughout the country on ways to prevent osteoporosis says Romona Fullman, NACW Board Member and Healthy BONES Chair.
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