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Awards ceremony coincides with Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month
LIVINGSTON – To commemorate May as Older Americans Month and Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, Department of Human Services (DHS) Deputy Commissioner Lowell Arye today joined members of the New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis (ICO) in honoring professionals and volunteers who have made significant contributions to the prevention, detection and treatment of this often debilitating condition.“Being aware of the risk factors for osteoporosis and taking action to maintain healthy bones is key to preventing osteoporosis,” said Arye. “But the management of this chronic health condition is part of a bigger strategy. It’s an emphasis on teaching individuals to make the necessary life-style changes to improve their health and well-being for the long-term.”

Osteoporosis, known as the "Silent Disease," is a serious condition in which bones become thin, brittle and easily broken. Nearly 1.5 million New Jersey residents either have or are at high risk for developing osteoporosis, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. In addition, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports about 7,260 individuals over age 65 have a hip fracture annually and the cost per hip fracture with hospitalization in New Jersey for this age group averaged $77,084. 

“Osteoporosis can be prevented through healthy behaviors such as following a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercising with light weights, adopting a healthy lifestyle absent of smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, and getting bone density tests,” Arye added. “Preserving mobility in aging adults helps them remain vital, independent and active in the community.”

New Jersey's strategy for preventing and reducing falls includes three nationally recognized programs: Project Healthy Bones, the fall prevention program A Matter of Balance, and Take Control of Your Health, a program developed by Stanford University and known nationally as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.

Project Healthy Bones, launched in 1997, has more than 1,500 older adult participants annually.  A Matter of Balance is an evidence-based and peer-led program that is relatively new to New Jersey.  Currently available in eight counties, A Matter of Balance is designed to increase activity levels of older adults while reducing the fear of falling.

Take Control of Your Health is a six-week, peer-led program in which participants learn strategies for managing symptoms, working with health care professionals, setting weekly goals, solving problems, relaxing, handling difficult emotions, eating well, and exercising safely and easily. A Spanish language version of the program, Tomando Control de su Salud, and a diabetes-specific program are also available in New Jersey.

This year’s honorees for raising awareness of osteoporosis are Dr. Charles J. Gatt, Jr., Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at The University of Medicine and Dentistry’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and 14 volunteers of Project Healthy Bones, a 24-week peer-led low impact exercise and education program designed to decrease bone loss, increase bone density and improve strength, balance and flexibility.

Livingston Leaders of Project Healthy Bones were presented with the New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis (IOC) Volunteer Award for their long-standing commitment to the program offered at the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center.

The peer leaders have led the classes week after week, welcoming and training new participants and motivating existing participants.  They include:

  • Monday Class: Marina Krawitz; Ruth Barber; Vernie Ellis; Estelle Glucksman; Ruth Anne Lieber; Charles Rubin; Roseanne Stampoulos.
  • Wednesday Class: Anna Tortora; Marilyn Augustine; Nina Crustinsky.
  • Friday Class: Irene Appelbaum; Caral Klein; Myra Nemlick; Ruth Pomerantz; Linda Press.

For more information on the ICO, Project Healthy Bones, A Matter of Balance, or Take Control of Your Health, call 609-943-3498 or go on-line to

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