Today's News

Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Bone and Joint Decade puts worldwide focus on musculoskeletal disorders

The spotlight is on the Bone and Joint Decade, an international initiative to improve prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders through medical research.

Launched in January, the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 is expected to benefit patients and the profession in many ways.

"The Bone and Joint Decade gives orthopaedic surgeons a unique opportunity to meet the challenges embodied in the goals of the international initiative," said Stuart Weinstein, MD, chairman of the Academy's Task Force on the Bone and Joint Decade.

"It gives orthopaedic surgeons an opportunity to work with our patients to raise public awareness of the growing burden of musculoskeletal disorders on society, patients and their families. It also gives us the opportunity to highlight that orthopaedists are one of the most important groups that concern themselves with these conditions and to demonstrate the effectiveness of orthopaedic care. The Bone and Joint Decade has the potential to have a very real impact on the practices of orthopaedic surgeons and most importantly improve the quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions."

Almost 37 million Americans--1 in 7 people--reported a musculoskeletal impairment in 1995 and more than 28 million people had musculoskeletal injuries. More than three million hospitalizations were related to musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.

Musculoskeletal conditions cost the economy an estimated $215 million in health care services and lost economic productivity in 1995.

Newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics show there were 60.8 million physician office visits by patients with musculoskeletal conditions in 1997.

"National governments and health care services will face severe financial pressures in the next 10 to 20 years because of the increasing numbers of people afflicted by musculoskeletal disorders," said Dr. Weinstein. "In developed countries, bone and joint disorders account for more than one-half of all chronic conditions in people older than 50 years of age and are the most common cause of severe, long-term pain. Populations in many developing countries also are at risk of trauma from increasing numbers of traffic crashes and from armed conflicts.

"The Bone and Joint Decade is alerting governments and policy decision makers worldwide to start taking action now and work with national and international organizations and health professionals in the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders."

The goals of the Bone and Joint Decade are to:

The Bone and Joint Decade has the support of 20 nations; 720 professional organizations and journals around the world; Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Gro Harlem Brundtland, MD, MPH, Director General of the World Health Organization. In 39 countries, national action networks with participants from various professional and patients' advocacy organizations are creating their own national goals and agendas.

Dr. Weinstein encouraged Annual Meeting attendees to stop at the Bone and Joint Decade exhibit across from the Resource Center and learn more about this initiative.

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Last modified 06/March/2000 by IS