Osteoporosis Australia recently announced its official rebrand to ‘Healthy Bones Australia’, to reinforce the importance of prevention, in response to the concerning 173,000 broken bones sustained by the Australian population last year. The organisation currently serves as APCO’s project management and Secretariat.
The rebrand coincided with the publication of an article in MJA Insight, co-authored by Healthy Bones Australia Medical Director, and APCO Executive Committee member, Professor Peter Ebeling AO, Melbourne, presenting the preliminary findings and recommendations from Healthy Bones Australia’s recent Inaugural National Consumer and Community Forum.
Forum participants, including GP’s, policy makers, professional associations, national health organisations, osteoporosis patients, community groups and other bone health-related organisations, collectively called for heightened community awareness, education, improved diagnosis and management of osteoporosis. They further recommended:
- Osteoporosis treatment reimbursement criteria to be reviewed and broadened;
- An increase in the number of Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) in hospitals Australia-wide to capture patients’ post- fracture, perform investigations, and initiate treatment;
- A substantial heightening of community awareness of risk factors for osteoporosis; and
- Earlier GP intervention, including the investigation of bone health as part of general health checks.
These recommendations align with our recently launched The APCO Framework, comprising 16 minimum clinical standards set to serve as a benchmark for the provision of optimal osteoporosis care in the Asia Pacific region.
According to Prof Ebeling, given the growing prevalence of osteoporosis and the increasing number of associated fractures, much more must be done to improve public awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy bones, and the diagnosis, and treatment for those “at risk”, and living with the disease.
“Early diagnosis of osteoporosis is vital to reducing fracture rates, and their subsequent impacts and costs, noting osteoporotic fractures cost the Australian healthcare system more than $3 billion each year.
“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 Prof Ebeling.
By 2022, around 6.2 million Australians over 50 years of age will be living with poor bone health (osteoporosis or osteopenia),1 equating to 183,105 fractures each year. By 2022, the projected total cost of poor bone health among Australians aged 50+ will be AUD 3.84 billion, comprising ambulance services, hospitalisations, emergency department and outpatient services, rehabilitation, aged care and community services. The total direct and indirect cost of poor bone health and its associated fractures over 10 years (2012-2022) is AUD 33.6 billion.
“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 Healthy Bones Australia CEO and APCO Executive Committee member, Greg Lyubomirsky, Sydney.
“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.”
To learn more about Healthy Bones Australia, head to www.healthybonesaustralia.org.au.