World Osteoporosis Day, marked on October 20 each year, is a campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. It aims to put bone health and fracture prevention on the global health agenda and reaches out to healthcare professionals, the media, policymakers, patients, and the public at large.

The majority of fragility fracture patients are neither assessed nor treated by their healthcare system hence there is a failure to ‘Capture the Fracture’ and reduce risk of subsequent fractures. Loss of independence after a hip fracture, approximately 60% require assistance a year later and 20% will require long-term nursing care.

 Fracture risk

Currently, osteoporosis is vastly underdiagnosed and undertreated. Worldwide, millions of people at high risk of broken bones (fractures) remain unaware of the underlying silent disease. The huge human and socioeconomic cost, and severe impact of fractures on patients’ independence, is underestimated.

Osteoporosis and fractures are common. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men aged 50 and over will sustain a fragility fracture in their remaining lifetimes. In women hip fracture is more common than breast cancer, and in men it is more common than prostate cancer.

One broken bone leads to another. Anyone who has broken a bone after a minor fall should talk to their doctor. Post-fracture care is urgently needed to prevent further fractures!

Identify the warning signs of spine fractures, which are often undiagnosed. Signs may include height loss, stooped back and back pain.

Osteoporosis suffers from a low rate of timely diagnosis and treatment. In many countries, there is poor accessibility to diagnostic DXA scans, and/or treatment is not reimbursed. Despite the fracture crisis facing most countries with aging populations, some 80% of individuals who have sustained a fragility fracture remain undiagnosed and untreated – essentially unprotected against potentially devastating and life-threatening secondary fractures.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa urges the public to raise awareness on World Osteoporosis Day by wearing white on the 20th of October.  Celebrate good bone health by ensuring that you and your family avoid premature bone loss and maintain a healthy skeleton by following a balanced diet every day and where necessary, take approved elements to boost your physical wellbeing and exercise.

If you are concerned about your risk of developing osteoporosis visit the NOFSA website to do a free risk assessment at

NOFSA is also hosting a Virtual Fun Run from 25 – 27 November to raise funds and awareness for osteoporosis. Contact [email protected] for more information or visit

Please help NOFSA make a loud noise about this Silent Disease by making a donation! Visit

Follow the conversation on social media @OsteoporosisSA and join in by using #takeactionforbonehealth.