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NOF Applauds New Bone Density Test Recommendations

(Washington DC, 9/16/02):  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation that all women 65 and older be screened for osteoporosis is an important step forward, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). 

"In just six years, the recommendation by the USPSTF shifted from 'insufficient evidence' to this important recommendation that all women 65 and older be tested," said Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD, president of NOF.  "Since a bone mineral density (BMD) test is currently the best means of assessing the true health of a person's bones, and because osteoporosis and low bone mass are so widespread in America, this represents a vital step forward in our efforts to ensure bone health for all."

NOF released a prevalence report,  "America's Bone Health: The State of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass in Our Nation", in February 2002.  The report includes estimates that 44 million Americans - 55 percent of men and women aged 50 and older - suffer from osteoporosis or low bone mass.  These numbers are estimated to jump to 61 million by 2020.

Dr. Dawson-Hughes also pointed out that USPSTF screening recommendations are consistent with NOF guidelines.  "These recommendations are very similar to the testing guidelines NOF published in 1999 in our Physician's Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis," she said.  "We are very pleased that the Task Force has affirmed NOF's BMD recommendations."

NOF guidelines recommend testing for women 65 and older and for postmenopausal women under the age of 65 with risk factors for osteoporosis. Currently, research has estimated that only about 12 percent of women over the age of 65 actually have gotten a BMD test.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation is the leading nonprofit, voluntary health organization dedicated to promoting lifelong bone health in order to reduce the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis and associated fractures, while working to find a cure for the disease through programs of research, education and advocacy.

Click here for more information about osteoporosis.

Created: 9/16/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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