Height, Weight Up Risk of Joint Replacement in Middle-Age

Modest increase in average body mass index accounts for significant increase in replacement rates among women

TUESDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- The likelihood of a woman requiring hip or knee replacement surgery in middle-age increases with both height and body mass index, according to study findings published in the May issue of Rheumatology.

To determine the relationship between height and body mass index and incidence of primary hip and knee replacements, Bette Liu, of the University of Oxford in Oxford, U.K., and colleagues conducted a study of 490,532 women, aged 50 to 69, who were followed for over 2.9 years.

Women who were at least 170 cm tall were 1.9 times more likely to undergo hip replacement and 1.55 times more likely to undergo knee replacement than their counterparts who were shorter than 155 cm. Women who weighed at least 75 kg were 2.37 times more likely to have hip replacement surgery and 9.71 times more likely to have knee replacement surgery than women who weighed less than 60 kg.

"Currently, an estimated 27 percent of hip replacements and 69 percent of knee replacements in middle-aged women in the U.K. are attributable to obesity," the authors write. "From a clinical perspective, relatively small increases in average body mass index among middle-aged women are likely to have a substantial impact on the already increasing rates of joint replacement in the U.K.," they conclude.

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