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Taking the Agony Out of Arthritis

Exercise, weight loss caused drop in knee pain, jump in knee function

THURSDAY, May 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Overweight people with arthritis in one or both knees can improve their condition by exercising and losing weight, says a study in the May issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Researchers found that participants in an 18-month diet and exercise program reported a decrease of more than 30 percent in knee pain. The subjects also reported an overall 24 percent improvement in physical function.

People with a few extra pounds who suffer knee arthritis should consider exercise and diet before pursuing other treatments, lead researcher Stephen Messier, of Wake Forest University's health and exercise science department, said in a prepared statement.

"Considering that side effects often limit the use of drug therapy and surgical intervention is often ineffective for mild or moderate knee osteoarthritis, our results give strong support to the combination of exercise and weight loss as a cornerstone for the treatment of overweight osteoarthritis patients," Messier said.

The group's exercises involved aerobic and resistance activities for one hour three times a week. The diet focused on restricting calories and eating healthy foods.

More information

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about arthritis.

SOURCES: Wake Forest University, press release, April 28, 2004
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