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Health

The obesity crisis is killing people’s knees

“Urgent action is needed."

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By Jim Leffman via SWNS

The age for knee replacement surgery has dropped due to the obesity crisis, a new study has revealed.

Physiotherapist doing patellar mobilisation after knee injury
Obesity Crisis: Over 70 million adults in U.S. are obese and are more than 1 billion overweight adults globally. (ESB Professional/ Shutterstcok) 

Those with the highest Body Mass Index were having surgery up to seven years earlier than those of a healthy weight.

In fact, more than half undergoing the procedure were obese, according to researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia.

And fat women are more than 17 times more likely to have a knee replacement than their slimmer counterparts.

Researchers found that of the 56, 217 patients in the study who underwent a knee replacement for osteoarthritis (OA), 57.7% were obese.

About 4.2% of American adults have a knee replacement.

Closeup tendon knee joint problems on woman leg indicated with red spot isolated on gray background. Joint inflammation concept.
Knee replacement surgery can be painful and costly. (ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

The study by The University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS) compared data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017-18 National Health Survey with the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry.

UQRCS Head of Research, Associate Professor Srinivas Kondalsamy-Chennakesavan said the effects on women were striking:

“Obese women aged 55–64 years were up to 17.3 times more likely to undergo a knee replacement than their healthy weight counterparts, while obese men in the same age group were up to 5.8 times more likely."

“Obese patients with the highest BMI ratio were also seven years younger on average when they had a knee replacement, compared to normal weight individuals.”

Lead investigator of the study published in ANZ Journal of Surgery, Dr. Chris Wall, said: “Modest weight loss has been found to effectively reduce knee osteoarthritis symptoms and obese patients who maintained a 10% body weight loss experienced significant improvement in pain and function.

“By 2030, it’s expected more than 161,000 knee replacements will be conducted annually.

“Urgent action is needed at a national level to change our approach towards reducing obesity or Australia may face a growing burden of revision knee replacement in the future.”

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