Aug. 13, 2001 -- Ann-Margret was known as America's sex kitten when she
rocketed to fame in the early 1960s. In the '70s she made her mark as a serious
actress, with Academy Award nominations for her roles in Carnal
Knowledge and Tommy. Along the way she conquered Las Vegas, starred
in critically acclaimed television dramas, and battled back from a near fatal
Now the actress is taking on a new role as spokeswoman for a
campaign to raise awareness about the bone-thinning disease known as
osteoporosis. She is still stunning, still sexy, but she is also something
else. Ann-Margret turned 60 three months ago, and she wants the world to know
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"Sixty is just a wonderful time of life, because you know
yourself," she tells WebMD. "It was so different 30 years ago. When
someone turned even 40 it was a major deal. They were considered to be on a
downward spiral. And 50 ... my goodness!"
The actress says she had no hesitations when approached by the
"What 60 Looks Like Now" campaign, even though it meant going public
with her age. The education effort is sponsored by the National Council on the
Aging, with financing from Merck pharmaceuticals, which manufacturers the
osteoporosis drug FOSAMAX.
"Everyone knows everyone's age in Hollywood anyway,"
she says. "It is true that Hollywood is still obsessed with age, but who
cares? Who really cares? This is just so important."
She says women who stay active and fit should not fear aging,
and a survey commissioned by the campaign suggests many don't. Of 400 60- to
69-year-old women participating in the survey, 56% said they were more active
and healthier than they had expected to be at that age, and 70% said their 60s
were the best time of their lives.
However, while almost all the women questioned agreed that
maintaining good health is important, only about half of them had undergone a
bone density test designed to identify osteoporosis.
"The one thing that I want to get out there, especially to
postmenopausal women, is that they should call their doctor, make an
appointment, and find out if a bone density test is right for them," the
actress says. "The test is so simple. You don't even take off your clothes.
It takes about seven minutes, and it's painless. There is nothing to
Bone Thinning Is Preventable
Approximately 23 million American women and 5 million men have
osteoporosis, and some 1.5 million fractures are associated with the
bone-thinning disease each year. Fractures caused by osteoporosis are more
common in women than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined, and a
woman's risk of having a hip fracture at some point in her life is equal to the
combined risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.