Doctors and researchers from across the Asia-Pacific gathered today for the opening of the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s (IOF) 3rd Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting, taking place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre until December 16, 2012.
The Deputy Minister of Health of Malaysia, YB Datuk Rosnah bt. Hj. Abd. Rashid Shirlin, welcomed the delegates from more than 60 nations. His Excellency Tun Dato' Seri Utama (Dr.) Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Abbas, Governor of Penang, was also present.
Internationally acclaimed Malaysian actress and bone health advocate Dato Seri Michelle Yeoh, speaking at the Opening of the Meeting, urged the public to take action for bone health. She said, “I firmly believe that everyone, no matter their age or gender, should be taking action to look after their bone health in order to avoid developing diseases such as osteoporosis.”
Osteoporosis is a disease which leads to weak and fragile bones that can break easily. Around the world up to one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a wrist, spine, hip or other fracture due to osteoporosis. The disease is a major cause of pain and disability, resulting in high healthcare and post-fracture rehabilitation costs. It is one of the most common diseases in older people, and in women over age 45 accounts for more days spent in hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, heart attack and breast cancer.
During the four-day IOF Regionals 3rd Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting, delegates will hear about new research and the latest prevention and treatment strategies for osteoporosis. The Meeting is organized by IOF in partnership with the Malaysian Osteoporosis Society (MOS) and the Osteoporosis Awareness Society of Kuala Lumpur (OASKL).
Dr. Hew Fen Lee, Vice President of MOS and Dr. Lee Joon Kiong, President of OASKL also addressed delegates at the Opening Ceremony, highlighting the growing socieo-economic burden of fractures due to osteoporosis in Malaysia. Dr. Hew warned, “In the future Malaysia can expect a rise in the number of fractures due to osteoporosis, not just because of the growing percentage of older people within the population, but also due to the trend towards urbanization and more sedentary lifestyles.”
Dr. Lee emphasized the significance of the IOF Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting for the fight against osteoporosis in Malaysia. “In order to address this significant health issue, we need to work together to implement community-based prevention strategies and to promote more research as well as public and health professional education programmes. We hope that this Meeting will serve as a catalyst for further progress in these areas.”
The Chair of the IOF Asia-Pacific Regional Advisory Council and Scientific Co-Chair of the Meeting, Dr. Ambrish Mithal, remarked that over the past 30 years, the incidence of hip fracture has risen 2- to 3-fold in most Asian countries. “Osteoporosis, together with other related muscle and joint diseases, poses a serious and growing threat to the health and well-being of older adults in the Asia-Pacific region,” he noted.
“It is expected that by 2050 more than 50% of all osteoporotic fractures will occur in Asia,” said Professor John A. Kanis, President of IOF. “This meeting is an important regional venue for education and new research, both of which will help doctors work against the impending epidemic of fractures. We expect that the advanced clinical strategies communicated to the delegates at this meeting will ultimately result in improved patient care throughout the region.”
The Meeting also serves to stimulate research from the Asia-Pacific region. Scientists from throughout Asia benefit from the opportunity to present their research at a high-profile venue with a large international audience. Research abstracts from the meeting are published in the field’s leading journal, Osteoporosis International.
Research awards for young investigators and a Young Investigator Mentoring Programme further provide valuable opportunities for recognition of research excellence and scientific collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region.