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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 12, 2009

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
(609) 943-4055

DHSS and Interagency Council on Osteoporosis Honor Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Volunteers and Professionals


Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard and the New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis (ICO) today announced the winners of the 2009 New Jersey Osteoporosis Prevention Awards.  Certificates of Achievement are presented to dedicated volunteers and professionals annually to coincide with Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. 


          This year’s recipients are:


  • The Consumer Award – Mr. Jerry Ancheta, Stratford.  Mr. Ancheta was nominated by the Philippine Community of Southern New Jersey, Inc. for his volunteer efforts over the past three years.  He teaches line dancing to a group of Asian-American seniors to improve their bone health, balance and muscle strength.  Since Asians have a higher risk of osteoporosis than other ethnic groups, these classes provide a healthy and fun way for participants to stay fit.


  • Special Appreciation Award – The Project Healthy Bones Curriculum Committee (Marie Bartello, Morris Township; Margie Bissinger, Morristown; Sally Fullman, Murray Hill; Sue Gordon, Flanders; Nancy Hess, Wharton: Betty Kenny, Kingwood Township; Kathleen Hodapp, Oak Ridge; Katherine Rollo, Verona; Christine Shesler, Madison; Erin Toomey, Morris Plains; and Martha May, deceased, formerly of Chatham Borough).  These individuals were recognized with the Council’s first Special Appreciation Award for the many volunteer hours they have dedicated to the review, revision and editing of the Project Healthy Bones Manual.  Members of this committee sought the input of participants and peer leaders to ensure that the new manual truly represents the practices and the needs of the people who attend Project Healthy Bones classes.


Osteoporosis, known as the “Silent Disease,” is a serious condition in which bones become thin, brittle and easily broken.  Nearly one million New Jersey residents have osteoporosis or low bone mass (osteopenia) and about 8,000 individuals over age 65 have a hip fracture annually.  In this state, the cost per hip fracture with hospitalization ranges from $18,000-$27,000. Almost one quarter of those with hip fracture will die within the first year following their fractures.


       Osteoporosis can be prevented through healthy behaviors including a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise, a healthy lifestyle without smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, and bone density testing and medications when appropriate.  New Jersey’s strategy for preventing and reducing falls includes two nationally recognized programs:  Project Healthy Bones exercise and education program and A Matter of Balance falls prevention program.


Project Healthy Bones is a 24-week peer-led low impact exercise and education program is available in all New Jersey counties program designed to decrease bone loss, increase bone density and improve strength, balance and flexibility.  More than 2,000 older adults participate in Project Healthy Bones annually.  


A Matter of Balance is a nationally recognized, evidence-based and peer-led falls prevention program that is new to New Jersey.  Currently available in eight counties, the program is designed to increase activity levels of older adults while reducing the fear of falling. 


The New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis is dedicated to the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive osteoporosis prevention and education program for the benefit of New Jersey residents.  Award recipients will receive their certificates at a special session of the ICO on June 11th in Lawrenceville.


          For more information on the ICO and Project Healthy Bones, call 609-292-9152, or go on-line to  To find out if there is an A Matter of Balance class near you, call 609-633-8746.


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