News Release

May 3, 2006

Contact: Carolyn Pennington, 860-679-4864

“Osteoporosis…It Matters”

May Is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month
Fuchsia Friday Debuts May 12

FARMINGTON, CONN. – “Osteoporosis…it matters” is the theme for the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s awareness campaign that encourages patients and healthcare professionals to talk about bone health before a fracture occurs. “Many healthcare providers don’t make bone health a priority until a patient fractures a bone, and even then, it can be neglected,” says Pamela Taxel, M.D., endocrinologist at the UConn Health Center. “When older people break a hip, they are 25 percent more likely to die within a year of the fracture.”

The NOF has designated the Friday before Mother’s Day, May 12, “Fuchsia Friday.” Women across the nation are encouraged to take a walk, with other strong women in their lives, to rally together, celebrate strength, and raise awareness about bone health. Women wearing fuchsia, the campaign color, will show solidarity with other women. The UConn Health Center will be the site for one of the organized walks. The 1.5 mile walk will kick off in front of the new Medical Arts and Research Building at noon. Women are invited to take part and wear fuchsia in honor of the day. The event is open to the public.

“Walking not only helps build strong bones, but can provide the strength and energy to be positive and productive every day,” says Dr. Taxel. “And, considering a woman’s risk of hip fracture due to osteoporosis is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer, bone health should be a priority for all women.”

Silently and without warning, bones may begin to deteriorate early in life if you do not have a healthy diet and the right kinds of physical activity, says Dr. Taxel. According to the Surgeon General, by 2020, half of all Americans will have weak bones unless lifestyle changes are made.

“You’re never too old or too young to improve your bone health,” says Dr. Taxel. “Many people already have weak bones and don’t know it.”

Certain factors can put you at risk for developing osteoporosis:

  • Diet – Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D over your lifetime.
  • Physical Activity – Bones become stronger with exercise.
  • Smoking – Smokers may absorb less calcium from their diets.
  • Medications – Common medicines, like some steroids, can cause loss of bone mass.
  • Low Body Weight – Small-boned and thin women are at greater risk.

The risk of osteoporosis is highest among older women as bones become more brittle with age. It is also higher for Caucasians and Asians than other ethnic groups. However, it’s important to remember that it is a real risk for women of all backgrounds and also for older men.

Testing bone density is the surest way to check for bone health. The tests are easy, fast and painless and are recommended for all women age 65 or older and for younger women who are at increased risk for osteoporosis. Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are treatments available to slow or stop its progress.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

Note: News professionals are invited to visit the UConn Health Today news page ( for regularly updated news and feature stories, photos and media stories. News releases are archived at UConn Health news and information is also available on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.