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FIRST PREVENTION FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS DISCOVERED; NEW RESEARCH FINDS WEIGHT LOSS PREVENTS KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS

 FIRST PREVENTION FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS DISCOVERED;
 NEW RESEARCH FINDS WEIGHT LOSS PREVENTS KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS
 /ADVANCE/ ATLANTA, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Arthritis Foundation recommends that overweight, middle-aged and older Americans lose weight to prevent knee osteoarthritis, based on new research published today that for the first time identifies a way to prevent a major type of arthritis.
 Funded in part by the Arthritis Foundation, researchers found that overweight, middle-aged and older women can significantly lower their risk for osteoarthritis by losing weight. A weight loss of 11 pounds in women of average height over a 10-year period decreased the odds for developing knee osteoarthritis by more than half. The study did not address the effects of weight loss in those who already have knee osteoarthritis.
 The study was conducted by David T. Felson, M.D., M.P.H, and colleagues at three Boston-area facilities. It was based on data from the Framingham Study and reported in the April 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study was funded by grants from the Arthritis Foundation and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
 The Arthritis Foundation recommends that overweight, middle-aged and older adults lose weight. Physicians should counsel overweight adults to lose weight to prevent osteoarthritis. Adults not currently overweight should maintain ideal weight.
 "This is the first time we have hope for preventing a major type of arthritis," said Arthur Grayzel, M.D., Arthritis Foundation's senior vice president of medical affairs. "Knee osteoarthritis can be very disabling. In fact, recent research shows it to be as disabling as any cardiovascular disease except stroke. Now we have proof that a simple activity such as weight loss even eight to 12 years before you expect symptoms can prevent major disability from arthritis in later years."
 According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting an estimated 15.8 million Americans usually after age 45. Osteoarthritis in the knee, one of the most frequently affected joints, affects 3.1 million Americans. In the disease, cartilage that covers the bone ends of joints breaks down. The result is bone rubbing against bone, causing pain and loss of movement. Other risk factors for developing knee osteoarthritis include age, injury to the knee, and activities or occupations that involve repeated use of the knee.
 For more information and a free brochure about osteoarthritis or diet, contact your local Arthritis Foundation chapter or call toll- free the Arthritis Foundation Information Line at 800-283-7800.
 The Arthritis Foundation is the source of help and hope for an estimated 37 million Americans who have arthritis. The foundation supports research to find ways to cure and prevent arthritis and seeks to improve the quality of life for those affected by arthritis.
 -0- 3/31/92/1700
 /CONTACT: Dennis Bowman of the Arthritis Foundation, 404-872-7100 (office) or 404-279-9563 (home)/ CO: Arthritis Foundation ST: Georgia IN: HEA SU:


EA-BN -- AT007 -- 3429 03/31/92 12:48 EST
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Date:Mar 31, 1992
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