Osteoporosis is one of the major chronic disorders of our time that affects over
10 million women in the United States alone, and is projected to affect 14 million by
the year 2020. It can also occur in men and young people, although the incidence in
women far outweighs that of any other group. This reality, along with the fact that the
disease is often “silent” and, therefore, goes untreated and undiagnosed, can have a
tremendous impact on family function.
There are a number of risk factors for osteoporosis that are modifiable,
although many individuals do not take advantage of the opportunities to prevent this
disease. These risk factors, and guidance regarding the use of preventive steps to
reduce risk, are outlined in this publication. In addition, social workers are in a unique
position to provide interventions on a micro level (educating individual clients) as well
as on a macro level in terms of large-scale education campaigns that focus on nutrition
and exercise guidance. This home study course can provide the social worker with
invaluable information to impact the population on both levels.