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Obesity Takes a Huge Toll on Knees

Researchers at the University of Nottingham, England have found that being overweight greatly increases the risk of osteoarthritis of the knees. Their findings were published in the May 2011 edition of Arthritis Care & Research.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the five leading causes of disability among mature men and women. Normal activity becomes painful and difficult as the osteoarthritis progresses. It usually occurs in knees that have experienced trauma, infection or injury.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 47 studies that included a total of approximately 450,000 participants. All of the studies compared the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in normal weight, overweight and obese participants.

They found that participants who were overweight were twice as likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee as those who were normal weight. Obese participants were four times as likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.

The researchers calculated that if obesity were eliminated in the United States, the number of people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee would be cut in half. Obesity leads to knee osteoarthritis because the knees are not able to handle so much weight over a long period of time, and eventually begin to deteriorate.

The Arthritis Foundation makes the following recommendations for prevention of osteoarthritis:

1. Maintain a healthy weight

2. Exercise regularly

3. Maintain good posture

4. Rest if you experience joint pain

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