Press Releases: Southern California
October 8, 2009
'Embrace Your Inner Strength,' Kaiser Permanente Encourages Men and Women
Exercising to Build Bone Mass Will Help Prevent Osteoporosis, Maintain Balance, Minimize Falls and Reduce Bone Fractures in Later Years
PASADENA, Calif. – Encouraging everyone to "Embrace Your Inner Strength," Kaiser Permanente has launched a campaign throughout Southern California aimed at getting teenagers, seniors and everyone in between to get serious about building up their skeletons and preventing osteoporosis. Throughout October, Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Southern California will be distributing osteoporosis prevention Tips for Healthy Bones, with activities and recipes at their Farmers Markets and community events.
Kaiser Permanente health education experts will be at the Grove in West Los Angeles on October 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as part of Prevention Magazine's "Breakthrough Health" event, and will also be participating in the Governor's Women's Conference in Long Beach on October 27. Conference participants will be able to join in a yoga lesson, survey their risk for osteoporosis and talk with a health educator about their healthy bones concerns.
"Good bone health begins in our early teens and by the time we’re in our 30s we have reached our maximum bone density," notes Shireen Fatemi, MD, regional co-lead for the Healthy Bones program and Area assistant medical director for Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center. "Exercising to build strong bones and muscles, and taking the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, are all part of the bone and muscle-building tools we need in our younger years because as we reach our 50s, more bone mass is being lost than what is replaced by good nutrition and physical activity." Adds Dr. Fatemi, "That’s when we really need to 'Embrace our Inner Strength,' and start using our osteoporosis prevention tools for good health in our later years."
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, half of the body's bone mass is developed in the teen years when eating calcium-rich foods and getting plenty of exercise can help boost the body's nerves and muscle development, and can even improve blood clotting and the body’s ability to heal itself. "Banking calcium and building bones when young also pays off in long-term dividends," notes Nora Strick, MD, Regional Healthy Bones co-lead and physician, department of internal medicine, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. "For women, the mortality rate due to osteoporosis-related fractures is greater than the rates for breast cancer and cervical cancer combined, and one-third of all men over 70 who suffer a hip fracture die from complications within a year after the incident. The good news is that osteoporosis can be prevented."
Osteoporosis is a "silent disease" because the bone loss progresses slowly, the bones become fragile, and without testing for bone density, the first symptom can be a fracture. More than 300,000 hip fractures are reported annually in the United States, and the key is prevention. In addition to lifestyle choices that can minimize the effects or possibly prevent osteoporosis, health care professionals can also get on the team, monitoring and managing their patients bone health for optimum results.
In 2008, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, a peer-reviewed journal, published the results of a five-year study conducted by Kaiser Permanente Southern California which tracked more than 625,000 male and female patients over the age of 50 in Southern California who had specific risk factors for osteoporosis and/or hip fractures. "This was the largest study of its kind and took a close look at what proactive measures physicians and orthopedic surgeons can do for their patients to help them better manage osteoporosis disease, and reduce hip fracture rates in men and women over the age of 50," says study lead author Richard M. Dell, MD, with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group Department of Orthopedics.
"The results of this successful osteoporosis care centered on an innovative 'Healthy Bones' program encompassing screenings, assessment, treatment, and education, which involves preventing future bone fractures among patients who have already experienced fractures," notes Dr. Dell. "We did it! Fractures were reduced by 37 percent for this population! Starting with our physicians and patients, and our research, we are now taking the Healthy Bones program from the medical centers and into the community for everyone's benefit. That is why this campaign is so exciting to me: Embrace Your Inner Strength; it can mean the difference between fragile aging and healthy aging with mobility and independence."
About the Kaiser Permanente Department for Research and Evaluation
The Department of Research and Evaluation conducts high-quality, innovative research into disease etiology, prevention, treatment and care delivery. Investigators conduct epidemiology, health sciences, and behavioral research as well as clinical trials. Areas of interest include diabetes and obesity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, aging and cognition, pregnancy outcomes, women’s and children’s health, quality and safety, and pharmacoepidemiology. Located in Pasadena, Calif., the department focuses on translating research to practice quickly to benefit the health and lives of Kaiser Permanente Southern California members and the general population. Visit www.kp.org/research.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s leading integrated health plans. Founded in 1945, it is a nonprofit, group practice prepayment program with Southern California headquarters in Pasadena, California. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 3.3 million members in Southern California. Today it encompasses the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Region includes more than 55,800 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 6,400 physicians representing all specialties. More information about Kaiser Permanente can be found at kaiserpermanente.org.