Osteoporosis is a disease which disproportionality affects women and is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide. To reduce the immense burden of this disease, the International Osteoporosis Foundation believes women must be made active participants in their own health outcomes.
The IOF Women Leaders Roundtables are an opportunity for highly respected women, from a range of countries and in a range of fields, to come together to advocate for prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases.
To date, IOF has organized three global roundtables:
- First IOF Women Leaders Roundtable, Lisbon, May 11, 2002
- Second IOF Women Leaders Roundtable, Toronto, June 2, 2006
- Third IOF Women Leaders Roundtable, Brussels, October 14, 2008
Why Women's Leadership is So Important in Addressing Osteoporosis
Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, Chair of the First Women Leaders Round Table, stated, "Our [roundtable] draws on women's experiences and insight about the challenges of osteoporosis and the directions we should take. And this is tremendously important because history shows that only when women are active advocates for health care do our concerns get the attention and priority they need in research in developing diagnostic and treatment options and in providing services and covering the costs.
Women's leadership is especially important when it comes to osteoporosis because this is a disease where prevention is key and prevention only succeeds when women are directly involved, informed and respected. For millions of families around the world, it's the women who have the main role in household diet and other activities like exercise that build healthy bones. It's women who educate daughters. It’s women who manage healthcare for older parents, but women have another important role and that is to spearhead change."
Women Leaders' Call for Action
Roundtable participants (2002, 2006, 2008) signed the Osteoporosis Call for Action, which urges:
Women and men worldwide to:
- Engage in a "bone-friendly" lifestyle, including appropriate exercise programs, nutrition and attention to risk factors
- Insist that health care professionals provide the best care possible
Healthcare professionals to:
- Improve their knowledge about how their field of specialty relates to osteoporosis
- Spend the time to advise patients about osteoporosis prevention and treatment
- Recognize osteoporosis as a health priority
- Pay for bone density scans and improve the availability of bone densitometry machines for people with risk factors before the first fracture
- Pay for proven therapies for people with osteoporosis before the first fracture