Press Release

Osteoporosis and African-American Women

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February 6, 2001, Washington, DC A recent article by Cathy Kessenich, DSN, ARNP, concludes that osteoporosis is overlooked among African-American women who could benefit from early detection and preventive counseling.

Kessenich cites studies showing that over 300,000 African-American women have osteoporosis, and 90% of the bone fractures in elderly African-Americans women are due to this disease. Yet African-American women are missing from the list of risk factors for osteoporosis, which typically include White or Asian descent, but not African-American. Screening and treatment for African-American women are also complicated by the fact that current recommendations are based on studies done primarily in white women.

Like white women, African-American women do not consume adequate dietary calcium. A higher percentage of African-Americans (up to 75%) is lactose intolerant and these women could potentially benefit from dietary counseling to meet their daily calcium requirements. Hormone replacement therapy is also underprescribed and underused by African-Americans.

Kessenich concludes that future osteoporosis clinical trials must include women of all races and ethnicity. "Health care providers must consider this disease to be an equal opportunity disorder. Overlooking osteoporosis screening for women of color on the basis of traditional risk factor lists is an outdated practice&"

Women's Health Issues is the official publication of The Jacobs Institute of Women's Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge, practice, and understanding of women's health.


For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Steve Fitzer
The Jacobs Institute
(202) 863-4989