The Launch of IOF

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) traces its roots to its predecessor organizations: the European Foundation for Osteoporosis (EFFO), created in 1987, and the International Federation of Societies on Skeletal Diseases (IFSSD), established in 1995.

Recognizing the need for a single, global organization to bring together scientists, doctors, the patient society movement and corporate partners, the governing bodies of EFFO and IFSSD agreed to merge to form the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

IOF was launched in September 1998 at the European Congress on Osteoporosis held in Berlin. The EFFO and IFSSD members comprised 74 national osteoporosis societies from 46 countries. EFFO’s president, Professor Pierre D. Delmas, and Mary Anderson, EFFO’s executive director, assumed the same positions in IOF.

At the time, Dr. André Prost, director for non-communicable diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO) noted, “The timing could not be better for the formation of IOF. The World Health Organization has identified osteoporosis as a priority health issue along with other major non-communicable diseases.”

Since 1998 there have been many milestones in IOF’s development, reflecting the growth and increasing importance of the global osteoporosis movement.

Key Milestones

Osteoporosis was not officially acknowledged and defined as a disease by the WHO until 1994. Since its inception, IOF has worked to nurture and expand the global osteoporosis movement through its support of member societies, educational programmes, scientific leadership and public outreach. Key milestones include:

1998 – The European Commission (EC) issues a report and recommendations for action against osteoporosis in the European Community. EFFO and later IOF assists in the publication and dissemination of the report.

1999 – Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan becomes IOF patron (until 2012).  The 5th Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies in cooperation with Osteoporosis Canada is organized by IOF- which thereafter continues to organize the biannual conferences in cooperation with member societies.

2001- Following the publication of the first audit report, which showed disappointing progress in Europe since 1998, IOF initiated the launch of the of European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group, which issued a ‘Call to action’ to spur government action against osteoporosis in Europe.

2002 - IOF was awarded a grant from the EC for a policy project entitled Call to Osteoporosis Action. This project brought together policy makers from the European Union and its member states, and osteoporosis experts, to form an EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel.
First IOF Women Leaders Roundtable, Lisbon

2003 - The National Osteoporosis Foundation (USA) joins IOF, whose membership now represents all regions of the world. IOF offers the inaugural IOF Linda Edwards Award - the first award to recognize the work of new osteoporosis patient societies.

2004 – For the first time, IOF stages the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis outside of Europe or North America. The congress is held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The US Surgeon General issues the first report on osteoporosis in the USA, helping to raise attention to the disease in the USA and around the world.

2006 - First IOF Regional Meeting for Central America and the Caribbean, held in Panama

2007 – IOF establishes 'IOF Diagnosis Course' with optional densitometry certification (until 2012). IOF's Bone Appétit World Osteoporosis Day campaign is awarded 

2008 – The Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX), a new method to assess 10-year fracture risk, is implemented, with IOF providing assistance in outreach and development. The CSA establishes Working Groups to focus research efforts and promote the publication of IOF position statements on various important topics.

2009 – The IOF World Wide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies is held in China for the first time. The publication of the Asian Audit report, quantifying the burden and status of osteoporosis in Asia for the first time, was the first in a series of regional audits that have had immense media and policy impact.

2010 - First join IOF-ESCEO World Congress in Florence becomes largest ever held. IOF holds its first IOF Regionals meeting. The 1st Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting is held in Singapore. IOF also opens its new regional office in Singapore. The first IOF Young Investigator Awards are presented

2011 – IOF holds the 1st Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting in Dubai and concurrently publishes the Middle-East & Africa Regional Audit, the first of a series of regional osteoporosis audit reports. A regional office for the Middle-East & Africa is opened in Dubai. Regional Advisory Councils are elected in Asia, the Middle-East & Africa and in Latin America. IOF issues its first e-newsletter, BoneBlast - a monthly newsletter which highlights the latest IOF activities. 

2012 – A new Board was announced, featuring for the first time equitable regional representation with four representatives from each of the five regions. IOF was granted Roster Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. A greater focus on muscle and joint health is introduced within all aspects of the organization’s programming: This reflects their importance to overall skeletal health and the promotion of active ageing in seniors. IOF launches a new website which also hosts the first of several interactive maps. Launch of a new joint IOF-ISCD international course, Osteoporosis Essentials with optional densitometry Attestation of Achievement. IOF launches OsteoLink, the first online communication forum for people with osteoporosis or an interest in bone health. IOF Regionals - 1st Latin America Osteoporosis Meeting, 2012, São Paulo, Brazil

2013 – IOF launches Capture the Fracture, a multi-stakeholder global campaign to prevent secondary fractures through the implementation of Fracture Liaison Services worldwide. EU27 Report launched, a major study of the burden of osteoporosis in Europe.

2014 – IOF issues its first patient-oriented e-newsletter 'LoveYourBones'

2015 - IOF joins the NCDAlliance Supporters Consultation Group, which addresses common risk factors for age-related diseases within a powerful global advocacy group.The IOF Regionals 3rd Middle East and Africa Osteoporosis Meeting is held.

2016 - Skeletal Rare Diseases is a new focus for IOF with the launch of a new online resource giving detailed information about more than 90 of the main rare diseases that affect the skeleton. The first IOF 'Genetic disorders of bone and their adult expression' pilot course is held in Geneva, Switzerland. The Capture the Fracture® programme enjoyed remarkable growth, introduced a new series of multi-language webinars, and saw the launch of a unique mentorship programme. A new IOF strategy and vision is introduced. 

2017 - Launch of the IOF Global Patient Charter in cooperation with the CNS. On World Osteoporosis Day, launch of the IOF Compendium of Osteoporosis, an authoritative policy-focused reference authored by leading experts.

2018 - IOF Map of Dietary Calcium Intake launched. A new report, ‘Broken bones, broken lives: A roadmap to solve the fragility fracture crisis in Europe’, with focus on 6 European countries is published. New regional alliances for collaborative efforts in Asia-Pacific: IOF-ISCD-AFOS Regional Alliance and the Asia-Pacific Fragility Fracture Alliance. Capture the Fracture surpasses the 300 mark, with more than 300 FLS joining the programme in all regions of the world

2019 - The launch of the new IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check in 35 languages is the focus of IOF's largest global digital campaign. A second edition of the IOF Compendium of Osteoporosis is published. 


Read 1997-2002: 15 Years of Fighting Osteoporosis (PDF, 604 KB)