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Intensive weight loss and regular exercise can ease knee arthritis for overweight adults better than exercise alone, according to new research.
The findings published in the September 25 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed exercise alone was not as effective at improving knee problems as was a combination of exercise plus weight loss.
Researchers found knee inflammation, pain and functioning l improved to a greater degree in adults who also cut calories, while working out.
"While both the exercise and the diet interventions separately were beneficial, the combination of the two was superior in virtually every outcome," study author Stephen Messier said.
The 18-month study monitored 454 overweight and obese adults with mild or moderate knee arthritis.
By the end of the study, people who combined diet and exercise lost an average of 23 pounds, had less knee pain, better functioning and reported twice as much relief, on average, than those who just exercised or just dieted.
"We've had a 162 percent increase in knee replacements over the last 20 years in people 65 and over, at a cost of $5 billion a year," Messier said. "From our standpoint, we think this would be at least a good way to delay and possibly prevent some [of them]."