Home » People in Wales are not looking after their bones, new charity research reveals

People in Wales are not looking after their bones, new charity research reveals

PRESENTER and Journalist Trisha Goddard is sharing her experience with breast cancer to raise awareness of the life-changing importance of strong bones, as new research reveals a worrying lack of action among the public. 

Osteoporosis will affect half of women and 1 in 5 men over 50, but despite this, new research* by You Gov and commissioned by the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) shows that only 18% of people under 55 living in Wales actively try to prevent it.  

The condition weakens bones, making them more likely to break and affects 3.5 million people in the UK.

In 2008, Trisha was warned that her bones would lose strength as a result of her breast cancer treatment – unless she took decisive action.

Today, Trisha is sharing the lessons from one of the toughest periods of her life as a message of hope for people of all ages: that by taking action to strengthen your bones, we can all live better in older age and avoid the pain and disability of osteoporosis.

Trisha said: “I never really gave osteoporosis or my bone density a thought until it came to my breast cancer treatment. My surgeon explained that the medication I would be on for the next ten years would affect my bones.

“While I was ill, the hospital tested my bone density and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that at the age of 50, it was still really good. All the weight training and powerwalking I had done for half my life had paid off. There was no need for me to be prescribed any additional medication to help preserve my bones through the cancer treatment.

“After five years of being on breast cancer medication, my surgeon checked my bone density again. Great news! I’d barely lost any of my bone density. My surgeon happily explained that this was a direct result of me continuing to weight train, power walk and stay active.

“All that time, my aim had been to stay physically and mentally strong. Without even realising it, not only had I maintained my muscle strength, I had also maintained my bone strength.

“I’m not going to pretend it was easy – far from it – but a little bit of exercise most days was what got me through cancer. I’ll always have worries about my health, but it gives me peace of mind knowing that I’m in control of my bone health.”

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Despite the huge impact for individuals and society, the research shows that 68% of people in Wales have never even had a conversation about bone health. In comparison, 61% actively try to maintain a healthy weight. 

Trisha continues, “The whole experience made me realise how important it is, not just for cancer patients, but for everyone to look after their bones. Bone health is so overlooked when it comes to wellbeing. It absolutely brought home to me that prevention is better than cure. That’s why I’m joining forces with the Royal Osteoporosis Society to raise awareness of the importance of bone health.”

The ROS is announcing that Trisha is to become an Ambassador for the charity today (27 April 2021) as part of its mission to bust myths and improve the bone health of the nation.

More people die of fracture-related causes than deaths caused by lung cancer and diabetes. The disease costs the NHS £4.5bn per year, a figure set to rise as the population ages. The ROS has warned this may climb even higher following the effects of lockdown, as the research shows that worryingly 30% of people in Wales have exercised less during the pandemic.

Craig Jones, Chief Executive of the Royal Osteoporosis Society said: “Trisha is living proof that the fatalism about osteoporosis and broken bones being just part of getting older is plain wrong. 

“There are many things that can increase your risk of osteoporosis, and sadly some cancer treatments are one of them. Many people will need to take a drug treatment for their bones to counteract the effects of their cancer treatment which will reduce their risk of bones becoming fragile.  

“Thankfully, taking weight-bearing exercise, getting enough vitamin D and eating the right foods can also make a big difference, not just for cancer patients but for everyone who wants to proactively manage their bone health.

“It’s typical of Trisha’s openness and can-do attitude that she’s sharing this inspiring message about how to age better and stop osteoporosis in its tracks.”

The popular presenter launched her 30-year career in television in Australia, before becoming a household name in the UK, where she fronted her celebrated, BAFTA-winning talk show, which ran for 12 years. Trisha is a life-long advocate for mental health services, and her time in the public eye has been characterised by her willingness to share candidly her own experiences to support people who are battling adversity.

Trisha is poised to return to our screens this summer as host of a new, more holistic version of Channel 5’s show, You Are What You Eat. Trisha will also be part of campaigning efforts by the ROS to raise awareness of bone health and work towards its goal of a future without osteoporosis.

Find out more about bone health at https://theros.org.uk/.