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World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) is marked annually around the world on October 20th. On this day, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF)-led initiative features global events and activities aimed at preventing the disease and raising awareness in society about the diagnosis, treatment and grave social consequences of this serious disease.

In the Russia Federation, education on this topic is organized by the Coordination Center of the All-Russian Osteoporosis Patient Society at the Russian Association on Osteoporosis (RAOP), which has set a course for systematic education of adults and children. Whenever possible, educational events are held throughout the year, usually on the basis of osteoporosis centers in the regions of the country, and often in cooperation with OsteoRus, the affiliated patient society. These initiatives have served as a good example for national patient societies in other countries, which have begun to organize lectures and events on the topic more frequently, rather than only once a year.

Healthy eating from children

Recently in Yaroslavl school №3 named after I.V. Izotov, OsteoRus volunteers held a lecture entitled "Calcium content in common foods". The initiator of the invitation to the school was Margarita Zakharova, a teacher of English. The children had the idea to make a bone-healthy menu with useful recommendations in English in order to practice their language education as well. The information received from community workers will help children and adults to eat healthy food to prevent fractures and keep bones healthy throughout life. Students in grades 9-11 took a knowledge quiz on the topic.

The issue of prevention of osteoporosis among school children has also discussed at the International Scientific-Practical Conference of Schoolchildren "Steps into Science-2022" which was held in a hybrid format at the Yaroslavl State University named after P. G. Demidov. It was organized by the Institute of Foreign Languages based at the University (Director of the Institute is Natalia Kasatkina). The event was supported by the Department of Education of the Government of the Yaroslavl region.

Forty students from the eighth to the eleventh grade from different schools in the Russian Federation and 27 children from schools in China (the Chinese People’s Republic) participated in the work of the conference. Reports were presented in three foreign languages. Olga Zabelina, a teacher of English at school №4 in Yaroslavl, and her student Alena Mashtakova decided to share their knowledge at the conference because the problems of health, and especially the health of the bones, are becoming urgent.

Pupils of the school took part in different educational activities in the field of prevention of osteoporosis: All-Russian Children’s drawing contest: “Space. Children. Strength and Health” and a quiz. They also made a video clip reflecting on lessons learned about the prevention of osteoporosis through the IOF 2022 campaign: Step Up For Bone Health which was held in cooperation with ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.  The pupil Alena was very eager and proud to participate in this scientific conference. Her presentation "The Problem of Osteoporosis on Earth and in Space" was successful and she took 2nd place! For many years the teachers and children of school #4 have been learning more and more about osteoporosis with the help of OsteoRus volunteers and specialists of RAOP.

Much credit for the fact that Russian schoolchildren know a lot about osteoporosis and share their knowledge belongs to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) and “Osteorus” volunteers, who use recommendations of experts in this topic and perfect information tools in their work.

Recognition for creative approaches to the education of children

In addition to the ongoing educational work of RAOP and OsteoRus there have been other initiatives in the Russian Federation to systematically promote children’s bone health and knowledge of early osteoporosis prevention. For example, at the VIII International Professional Competition for University Teachers, November 10, 2022, the list of winners in the final report included Dr Radik Zufarovitch Nurlygayanov, esteemed orthopedic traumatologist and head of the Ufa city center of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis as well as Dr Vilya Iskandarovna Baimurzina, doctor of pedagogical sciences, Professor of the Department of psychological and pedagogical education of the Sterlitamak branch of the Bashkir State University. The two co-authors of the methodological textbook for grades 1 to 4 entitled “Health saving technologies to prevent osteoporosis”, took first place in the "TOP-10" rating of the competition’s final report. The methodological manual consists of two sections. The first contains plans for extracurricular activities for the prevention of osteoporosis. The authors propose four-level lessons for grades 1-4, with a gradual complication of the same topic in accordance with the age characteristics of younger students. The second section contains information and content materials as a source for their creative use for lesson plans.

Earlier, in order to educate children, Dr Nurlygayanov recorded an audio performance "A Tale of Two Sisters and a Strange Beast Called Osteoporosis", composed an instructive story "It's Easy to Fall, Hard to Stand Up, or Why Bones Break", prepared a manual "School of Health for the Prevention of Osteoporosis".  His work inspires children and adults to become engaged in osteoporosis prevention through creativity and sets an example for other doctors to follow!

This story was contributed by Galina Evstifeeva and Victoria Sotskova, on behalf of IOF member societies OsteoRus/RAOP