Harvard Men's Health Watch

Diet + exercise = less arthritis pain

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In overweight people with knee arthritis, combining diet and exercise eased symptoms better than either alone, researchers reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The 454 people involved in the study were 55 and older, with a body mass index (BMI) classifying them as either overweight or obese. Previously, they all lived relatively sedentary lifestyles. Over 18 months, study participants followed a regimen of either strict dieting, exercise three days per week, or both. Those who dieted and exercised lost 11.4% of body weight, in comparison to 9.5% in people who dieted without exercising. The exercise-only group lost minimal weight.

The diet-and-exercise group saw the most improvements in pain and inflammation, walking speed, and overall mobility. The gains were modest, but could have a positive impact in sedentary and overweight people.

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