Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Breenda Talarico


Osteoporosis is a major public health problem worldwide. Its complications are those related to fragility fractures, which cause considerable morbidity, mortality, and resource utilization. The socioeconomic burden is relatively well understood in the United States, but less studied in developing regions of the world. This paper will compare the epidemiology and socioeconomic burden of osteoporosis between the United States and Latin America. It will also review the current prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment methods, with an emphasis on raising awareness, improving management, and prioritizing osteoporosis as a public health problem. Information was gathered through a PubMed literature review and an interview with a provider from San Jose, Costa Rica. It is estimated that nearly 200 million elderly people suffer from osteoporosis worldwide. Geographical variances do exist; in general countries farther from the equator are at a greater risk. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) conducted a regionalized study that demonstrated the geographical variances, with the purpose to raise awareness, improve education, and incorporate more osteoporosis training in developing countries. The Latin American Vertebral Osteoporosis Study (LAVOS) determined that only 1 out of 4 women over the age of 50 in Argentina had normal bone mineral density, demonstrating that osteoporosis is actually more common than previously thought in Latin America. Despite recent efforts to highlight its burden, osteoporosis is not considered a health priority in Latin America. There is a need to improve prevention strategies, clinical assessment, and raise awareness in order to lessen the considerable human and economic impact of the disease.


SC 11.PAS.2019.Mork.K

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