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Medical Libraries Join "U.S. Bone and Joint Decade"

Osteoporosis affects nearly 44 million Americans or 55 percent of people 50 years of age or older. Ten million Americans are estimated to have this condition with another 34 million estimated to have low bone mass. According to the Surgeon General, Americans need to take care of their bone health NOW, or by 2020 half of all Americans will be at risk of fracture.

In response to these statistics, the United States Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD), a multi-disciplinary initiative targeting the care of people with musculoskeletal conditions, has teamed up with the Public Library Association, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and the National Library of Medicine to launch "Fit to a T @ your library"--a new educational program focusing on bone health and osteoporosis prevention for men and women in their mid-40s and older. This is the first time that the USBJD, Public Library Association, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and the National Library of Medicine are collaborating.

Fit to a T is being introduced in select cities and communities throughout the country, including San Antonio, Seattle, Newbury Park (CA), San Diego, Anaheim, Kansas City, Charlevoix (Michigan) and Flint. These events--a series of free, one-hour presentations--will take place during the 2005 United States Bone and Joint Decade National Awareness Week (October 12-20) and afterwards during the next several months, in local libraries. Noted health care experts, osteoporosis patients and library representatives will be on hand to give important information and answer questions.

Fit to a T is one of many programs being offered during the United States Bone and Joint Decade (2002-2011). The Decade focuses on improving the quality of life, as well as advancing the understanding and treatment of those conditions through research, prevention and education. For more information about when and where these events will take place, visit www.usbjd.org or www.fit2t.org.

Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., Director of the National Library of Medicine, believes that by working together, the organizations will raise much-needed public awareness of arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis, trauma and childhood conditions and their treatment. "We have to reach Americans in every part of our society--at work, home and play," he says. "Libraries are in every community and they can play a vital role in providing our citizens with health information they can apply in their daily lives."

"The program is called Fit to a T because the T-score is the measure of a person's bone density and susceptibility for fracture," says Nancy E. Lane, MD, president of the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade. "Attendees will be given an overview on osteoporosis prevention; the importance of self-assessment (or bone density) tests; relevant risk factors; preventive measures; and recommended lifestyle modifications." Attendees to the Fit to T events will also be introduced to NLM's MedlinePlus.

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