The U.S. Bone Coalition works on several fronts to increase awareness of bone diseases and advocate for additional funding for bone-related research. This section highlights the Coalition's current priorities.
Bone Health Promotion and Research Act
It is estimated that fractures resulting from osteoporosis or low bone mass cost our health care system more than $19 billion each year. Experts predict that cost will rise to $25.3 billion by 2025. Early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis alone has been demonstrated to dramatically reduce fracture rates and generate substantial savings overall. In addition, osteogenesis imperfecta is characterized by fragile bones and frequent fractures. It is estimated to afflict an estimated 40,000 people. Paget's disease of the bone, a disorder that results in enlarged and deformed bones in one or more parts of the body, afflicts an estimated 700,000 Americans over the age of 60.
Introduced by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York in May 2011, The "Bone Health Promotion and Research Act" (S. 966) would create a national bone health program focused on education, prevention and research by allowing for national educational outreach through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); state grants for comprehensive osteoporosis and related bone disease surveillance and prevention programs; and expanded research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A comprehensive national bone health program currently does not exist, very few states fund education, public awareness and prevention programs, and existing programs are threatened annually by declining state budgets.
The Bone Coalition supports legislation that would implement recommendations of the National Action Plan for Bone Health, which was developed in response to the U.S. Surgeon General's 2004 report on bone health and osteoporosis and the 2008 National Summit on Bone Health.
The bill currently needs co-sponsors in the Senate. We encourage you to contact your Senators to express your hope that they will also support this legislation and consider being a co-sponsor.
View the Bone Health Promotion and Research Act
View the Section by Section Summary of the Bone Health Promotion and Research Act
View the Bone Health Promotion and Research Act Fact Sheet
View the press release on the introduction of the Bone Health Promotion and Research Act
View Senator Gillibrand's Co-Sponsor Request Letter
National Action Plan for Bone Health
Much of our current lifestyle is not conducive to bone health, there is an increasing risk of fragility fractures as our population ages, and this will have an enormous toll not only in terms of medical costs but also in morbidity and mortality. Moreover, both women and men of all races and ethnic groups are affected. Although osteoporosis and age-related skeletal fragility have been the most extensively studied aspects of bone disease, studies on less common or even rare bone disorders have led to major advances in our understanding of bone health and disease.
Although there is a great deal more to be learned through basic and clinical research, we do know enough now to reverse or at least slow this trend. The problem has been that efforts to promote awareness, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of osteoporosis and other metabolic bone disorders have been sporadic.
To achieve meaningful change, a coordinated effort is needed among health care professionals, federal, state, and local government agencies, voluntary organizations, academics, communities, and the multiple components of the health care industry.
To address this need, the Bone Coalition recently launched The National Bone Health Alliance (NBHA), a public-private partnership that aims to improve the overall health and quality of life of all Americans by enhancing their bone health. The NBHA is spearheading a public campaign to raise awareness for the risk factors for osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Osteoporosis and other bone diseases can result in fractures, weakness and reduce your quality of life. Osteoporosis results in 1.5 million fractures (broken bones) in the U.S. every year. The single most proactive thing you can do to prevent osteoporosis and other bone diseases is to understand your risk factors. Speaking with your healthcare professional will help you better understand your own risk for the disease as well as your options to improve or maintain your bone health.
The public awareness campaign launch with a public service announcement (PSA) in the May 2011 issues of Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle and Ladies Home Journal. The PSA, can also be viewed at the Alliance's newly updated Web site, www.nbha.org, which also includes resources on understanding various bone diseases, special offers and links to NBHA member web sites.
The public service announcement, entitled "Wishing for Strong Bones Isn't Enough. Build Them.", is a first step in a campaign designed to encourage everyone to take action to build stronger bones:
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
- Do weight-bearing exercises.
- Talk to your healthcare professional about whether you need a bone density test and how you can keep your bones strong.
We urge you to become a member of the NBHA today by visiting its web site.
NIH Funding for Bone Related Research
Studies conclude that musculoskeletal disorders and diseases are the leading cause of disability in the United States. Studies further indicate that more than 1 in 4 Americans have a musculoskeletal condition requiring medical attention. The annual direct and indirect costs for bone and joint health are $849 billion - which is 7.7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Bone health is critical to the overall health and quality of life for Americans, and greater efforts are needed to address the burdens associated with osteoporosis and related bone diseases.
A Bone Coalition internal analysis of FY 2010 NIH funded grants revealed only 1% of the NIH budget was allotted toward bone research. This statistic is startling when one considers the number of individuals afflicted with bone diseases. Bones provide mobility, support, and protection for the body. Without additional bone disease research, the costs associated with treating bone diseases will continue to burden our health care system.
Medical research plays an integral role in the creation of opportunities for scientific and health advances as well as serves as an important economic driver in communities across the nation. Contact your Representative today and urge them to support increased funding for bone-related research.
View NIH Fact Sheet
View NIH Talking Points