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Dr Sue Lo, FPAHK's Senior Doctor presents her findings of the "Study on Bone Health Status of Postmenopausal Chinese Women" gives details of the sponsored osteoporosis assessments. Photo: Family Planning Association of Hong Kong

Time to bone up: Hong Kong study finds majority of local menopausal women have weak bone density

Over a quarter of postmenopausal women in Hong Kong have osteoporosis and over half have osteopenia, according to a four-year study on bone health status by the non-profit Family Planning Association of Hong Kong unveiled yesterday.

GLORIA CHAN

Over a quarter of postmenopausal women in Hong Kong have osteoporosis and over half have osteopenia, according to a four-year study on bone health status by the non-profit Family Planning Association of Hong Kong unveiled yesterday.

The study ran from 2008 to 2012 and involved bone density scans for 1,507 postmenopausal ethnic Chinese women. It found 26 per cent of the women had osteoporosis, while 52 per cent were diagnosed with osteopenia. Their mean age was 58.

Further analysis of the group showed that significant risk factors for osteoporosis included older age, a longer duration of menopause, a family history of osteoporosis or hip fracture, and a body mass index below 18.5.

Among those diagnosed with osteoporosis, 42.9 per cent refused treatment, 30.7 per cent complied, and 26.4 per cent stopped treatment prematurely.

Tai-Chi Master Lee Yu-fang and FPAHK's Bone Health Ambassadors demonstrate bone strengthening and fall prevention exercise.
To encourage at-risk women to check their bone status and generally raise awareness of bone health, the association is launching a campaign on Friday with sponsorship from the Community Chest to offer free bone density scans - valued at HK$520 - for 100 women in Hong Kong aged 65 or older who never before had such a scan or were treated for osteoporosis.

"We hope this campaign could attract older women to come for check-ups," said Dr Sue Lo Seen-tsing, a senior doctor with the association. "We targeted women because osteoporotic fractures in elderly women are three times higher than in their male counterparts."

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Lo also noted a "worrying" finding that, of the 1,507 participants, half of them did not have two to three servings of calcium-rich food per day, 47 per cent failed to do 20 minutes of weight-bearing exercise daily, and 44 per cent admitted not having weekly sun exposure.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, daily calcium intake should be 1,000 milligrams. Yet a survey from 2005 to 2007 by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department showed people in Hong Kong only consume 400mg of calcium daily.

For the association's campaign, eligible women can sign up for a fee-waived bone density scan by calling 5429 5853. Scans will be done in sessions that cost HK$200, held every Friday from October 23 to January 29.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Weak bones plague local postmenopausal women
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