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18 Oct 2018

Aussie sporting heroes share the Know Your Bones message

The inaugural ‘Know Your Bones’ Community Risk Report has today been launched at Parliament House, Canberra, by the Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, and the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP.

Special national ambassadors for World Osteoporosis Day, Olympic gold medallist Sally Pearson OAM and former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, attended the event and encouraged all Australians to be aware of their bone health.

A snapshot of osteoporosis impact in Australia

The Know Your Bones Community Risk Report brings together deidentified information from over 40,000 people who have completed Know Your Bones – an online self-assessment tool that helps individuals understand their own, personalised risk of breaking a bone through osteoporosis.

The report, which has been released in the leadup to World Osteoporosis Day, was produced by Osteoporosis Australia. The Know Your Bones online tool is a joint fracture prevention initiative of OA and Garvan.

The report suggests that more needs to be done to treat and monitor Australians at risk of osteoporotic fracture.

Crucially, it finds that:

  • Only half of people reporting a previous fracture say that they have had a bone density test
  • The vast majority (84%) of those reporting a previous fracture say that they are not on any treatment to aid bone health

Greg Lyubomirsky, CEO Osteoporosis Australia says, “We cannot allow so many Australians to be affected by broken bones; we must take action to prevent fractures.”

Sports stars on the importance of healthy bones

At the launch, Sally Pearson highlighted her own experience of bone breaks in the course of her elite hurdling career. She said, “With my own personal history of bone fractures, I understand it is very important to look after your bones. I’d encourage more Australians to use the Know Your Bones online self-assessment tool.”

Michael Clarke said he had recently come to realise that osteoporosis affects men as well as women. He said, “Looking after your bones is important for young people, as well as for all men and women to reduce the risk of osteoporosis which can lead to broken bones.”  

Know Your Bones shines a light on bone health

First and foremost, Know Your Bones is a tool for people to assess their own risk of fracture. However, today’s report shows that Know Your Bones also acts as a powerful information-gathering tool, helping to paint a picture of how Australians are managing their bone health.

Know Your Bones is underpinned by key research findings from Garvan’s Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, the world’s longest-running large-scale study of osteoporosis in men and women. The Dubbo Study was started in 1989 by Garvan’s Professor John Eisman AO and has been led by him ever since, with key support from Professor Jacqueline Center and Professor Tuan Nguyen, also of the Bone Biology Division.

At today’s event, Prof Eisman said, “As a medical specialist and researcher in the field of osteoporosis, I have witnessed the devastating impact of fractures on patients and their families. The Know Your Bones report launched this morning shows we need to do better in identifying people with obvious risk factors for osteoporosis and those with broken bones, so that appropriate action can be taken to reduce the risk of bone fractures in the future.”