Following is the speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr E K Yeoh, in the Hong Kong Osteoporosis Foundation Inauguration Ceremony and Exhibition today (October 21):
Prof. Lau, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to speak at this inauguration ceremony of the Hong Kong Osteoporosis Foundation and I would like to congratulate the founding members for establishing this worthwhile Foundation with a mission of raising public awareness of this important health issue.
About 4,000 elderly men and women fracture their hip as a result of osteoporosis each year and this number is expected to increase in coming years. During youth, our bones grow in length and density. During the teen years, maximum height is reached but bones continue to grow in density until the age of around 30 when peak bone density is attained. Bones will then start to lose density or strength slowly. If not prevented, osteoporosis progresses silently, manifesting latter in life as a devastating fracture frequently of the hip and spine.
Everyone is susceptible to osteoporosis, with women more at risk. Apart from gender, another important contributory factor is ageing. A person's lifestyle, food diet and amount of physical activities also have direct impact on the person's bone health.
Osteoporosis is largely preventable for most people. In order to prevent the disease, we should make efforts to attain a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, as well as a healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol use, adequate physical exercises and reasonable body weight. Indeed, these should help you prevent many other diseases as well.
I would like to thank the Foundation for organizing the exhibition and talks to disseminate the health message to different sectors of the community. The Foundation has done a most valuable service to the community by keeping the public better informed and enhancing their knowledge of osteoporosis. I wish the Foundation and its members every success in their combat against osteoporosis.
Remember, prevention is better than cure. Start investing in your bones before it is too late. Thank you.
END/Saturday, October 21, 2000 NNNN