Canadians unaware of osteoporosis risk, says survey

New survey reveals Canadians are largely unaware about osteoporosis and the serious consequences it can have on their health

One in three Canadian women, and one in five Canadian men will break a bone because of osteoporosis, a debilitating disease that can strike at any time, causing bones to become fragile and break.1 Each year in Canada, broken bones caused by osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined for women over the age of 50, despite the fact that if simple steps are taken in their 30s the risk can be reduced.1

'Many people think that osteoporosis is a natural part of aging, but this is not the case,' said Dr Famida Jiwa, President and CEO of Osteoporosis Canada, a registered charity dedicated to serving people who have or are at risk of osteoporosis. 'Every year, thousands of Canadian women break bones due to undiagnosed osteoporosis, despite the fact that the disease can be effectively managed, and in some cases prevented.'

Despite the severity and prevalence of osteoporosis, a new survey from Osteoporosis Canada, in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart, reveals startling gaps in Canadians' knowledge and understanding of the disease.2 The survey results show that half of those in their 30s don't know the facts about osteoporosis and how to reduce their risk of developing this disease.2

  • By 2035, it is estimated that almost 42,000 individuals per year will experience a broken hip, meaning that those in their 30s and 40s now are at risk3
  • 1.4 million Canadians have osteoporosis; however, only 5% of respondents rated themselves as knowledgeable about the disease2,4
  • When asked about key facts of the disease, the majority of Canadians admitted they are not aware of seven of eight key facts about osteoporosis and complications that are related to the disease2
  • Although guidelines recommend consumption of 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day, most women fail to reach this level with their dietary intake – many only getting 300 mg/day5
  • In Canada, among people over 50 years old, 80% of broken bones are caused by osteoporosis, while 80% of Canadians who break a bone are never assessed for possible underlying osteoporosis1
  • As of 2010, the overall yearly cost to the Canadian healthcare system for treating osteoporosis and the fractures it causes was in excess of C$2.3bn6

'It's never too early to start thinking about bone health and there are easy steps that Canadians can take, at every age, to help prevent osteoporosis,' said Bhavika Prajapati, pharmacist and Associate-Owner, Shoppers Drug Mart. 'Ensuring your diet is rich with calcium, supplementing with vitamin D and adding regular exercise to your daily or weekly routine will help build bone strength and can make a difference in prevention of osteoporosis and fractures.'

As part of this effort for better bone health, Osteoporosis Canada has joined forces with Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, whose pharmacists have received specialised training in the prevention, management and treatment of osteoporosis. Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix pharmacists are equipped to provide education and advice to patients about osteoporosis management and reducing the risk. In addition, Osteoporosis Canada is lending its endorsement to Life Brand Vitamin D and Calcium products, to help in the prevention and management of Osteoporosis.

'Shoppers Drug Mart is thrilled to be working with Osteoporosis Canada, helping to further educate Canadian women about osteoporosis,' said Prajapati. 'Pharmacists' expanded scope of practice offers further convenience to our customers and patients and, in this instance, knowledgeable information, to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis in Canadians.'


1. Osteoporosis Canada. Osteoporosis Facts and Statistics. Accessed February 1, 2016

2. H+K Perspectives, Bone Health: A Survey of Canadians. June 4-14, 2015.

3. Osteoporosis Canada. Fracture Liaison Services Toolkit, appendix B. Accessed February 1, 2016.

4. Brown, Jacques P., Josse, Robert G., Canada and the OSC lead the way. Osteoporosis Update. 2003.  Accessed February 1, 2016

5. Osteoporosis Canada. Calcium: An Important Nutrient that Builds Stronger Bones. Accessed February 1, 2016.

6. Tarride JE, Hopkins RB, Leslie WD, et al. The burden of illness of osteoporosis in Canada. Osteoporos Int. Nov 2012;23(11):25912600.