Weight loss and arthritis relief go hand in hand
, according to a new study that finds that overweight adults who shed 10 percent of their body fat can significantly reduce their knee pain and increase mobility.
Worldwide, approximately 250 million individuals suffer from knee osteoarthritis, USA Today reported
According to Stephen Messier, a professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University who led the study, the ailment is the leading cause of disability in older adults, which leads to a diminished quality of life and potentially an overall loss of mobility.
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Knee osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage around the joint breaks down, resulting in inflammation, pain and stiffness. A leading cause of knee osteoarthritis is being overweight, Messier notes.
According to the professor, the greatest benefits among adults who lost weight during the study were among those who combined diet and exercise.
"While both the exercise and the diet interventions separately were beneficial, the combination of the two was superior in virtually every outcome," Messier told Reuters
The 18-month study involved some 454 overweight and obese adults who suffered from knee osteoarthritis and were all over the age of 55.
The subjects were then divided between three groups: a diet-and-exercise plan; a diet-only plan or an exercise-only program.
The restrictive diets were tailored to each participant with woman being allowed to consume no less than 1,100 calories per day and men at least 1,200 calories a day, USA Today noted.
Those assigned to the exercise groups worked out for one hour a day three days a week, during which they performed strength training exercises and engaged in mild to moderate-intensity walking.
At the conclusion of the 18-month study, those who took part in the diet-and-exercise program lost on average 23 pounds, equivalent to approximately 11.4 percent of their starting weight, and reported a 51 percent reduction in pain.
Individuals in the diet-only program lost 19.6 pounds, approximately 9.5 percent of their starting weight, and reported a 25 percent reduction in pain.
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The participants that saw the least weight loss overall were those enrolled in the exercise-only group, having lost four pounds, or 2 percent of their starting weight, and reportedly saw a 28 percent reduction in pain.
The findings were published on Wednesday in the Journal of The American Medical Association
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