CBS Cares has debuted their latest Public Health Campaign in Sixty Minutes- a brilliantly impactful collaboration with the cast of the Broadway Musical Hair – to a generation of Baby Boomers whose senior memories are quickly engaged and transported to a time of healthy vibrancy when viewing the musical public service announcement on the CBS Cares website (www.cbscares.com). As Matthew Margo – who heads these campaigns for the CBS Television Network – writes in the campaign’s intro, “the generation that once reached for the acid now reaches for the antacid and has to confront an array of health issues”.
Among Baby Boomers entering their fifth and sixth decade of life, Osteoporosis seems to lag behind attention paid to cholesterol readings and cardiac health. And when the disease is acknowledged, the target is more likely to be women. This initially seems appropriate as women can be more urgently compromised by significant bone loss after menopause. But as current research shows, our aging male friends and partners are also at risk.
Falls due to fragile and brittle bones are a major health problem among seniors. If hip fracture is sustained, mortality is seriously compromised along with ability to independently function! Among those over 65, the mortality rate following fracture can reach 20% at six months, (Magaziner, J. 2000) while among the more aged and health compromised it can rise to 49% in the same six month post op period.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation website, http://www.iofbonehealth.org/ hip fractures cause the most morbidity in the first year post fracture and mortality compromise continues for up to five years. The loss of mobility can result in up to 33% becoming totally dependent or in a nursing home the following year. Too often these sobering statistics are left out of well meaning messaging about “healthy bones”. Thus the dangers of Osteoporosis receive far less attention than merited.
Enter CBS Cares to headline the issue in a Boomer marquee where it belongs! While presenting the indisputable facts about Osteoporosis which cannot be ignored if you care about quality of life in your senior years (and want to keep that booty in dance ready mode), many preventative strategies still available to previously unaware Boomers are presented!
An essay authored by NIH Musculoskeletal expert Dr. Joan McGowan who also co-chairs The Federal Working Group on Bone Disease, encourages a call to preventative action and extends the warning of disease vulnerability from the previous main target of white women to minority and male populations. Information not to be missed!
When you visit the site (www.cbscares.com) to sing along with the cast of Hair and learn what you can do to improve your skeletal health, take a look at other important women’s issues that CBS Cares has effectively tackled. Through collaborations with experts, nonprofit organizations and entertainment media, CBS Cares has lifted many under attended health and mental health problems high into America’s radar and individual awareness.
For example, CBS Cares was the first major network to confront the issue of postpartum depression through a national public service announcement campaign which appeared on both primetime shows and airline flights. The resulting benefits to America’s mothers and infants included responsive program development in many public/private sectors and saved lives!.
As one of Baby Boomers targeted by the current Osteoporosis campaign, I have thought about taking a Vitamin D and Calcium supplement for years. One of those things “I’ll get to”. Recent falls resulting in hip fractures to two precious elderly relatives had not been connected to Osteoporosis. Now,not only am I taking both supplements, I’ve plugged in that underutilized treadmill and made a renewed commitment to strength training. Two very low cost measures that could mean I’ll be dancing steadily into my nineties.
After all, the Boomer generation has set new bench marks and expectations for health and wellness at each new decade. And by maintaining attention on the frame that has carried us from Hair to here; we’ll continue to “let the sun shine in!”
Thanks so much to the CBS Cares Team, the cast of Hair and Dr. McGowan for setting us straight on the dangers and remedies associated with Osteoporosis.