Obesity and arthritis link

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by Aimee Keenan-Greene

An estimated 72.5 million adults over 20 are obese, and 50 million adults have arthritis now, that's approximately 22 percent of U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new information is highlighted in the latest weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The study analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 2003 through 2009 made three major findings: 
Among adults with arthritis,  obesity prevalence was 54 percent higher, compared with adults without arthritis.
Researchers also noted obesity prevalence varied widely by state - in 2009 26.9 percent in Colorado to 43.5 percent in Louisiana.
The CDC says obesity prevalence increased significantly from 2003 to 2009 in 14 states and Puerto Rico and decreased in the District of Columbia (DC).

By 2009, 48 states had an age-adjusted obesity prevalence of greater than 30.0 percent.  That's up 10 states since 2003.

Medical costs are estimated at $147 billion for obesity and $128 billion for arthritis annually.

Obesity is common for people with arthritis and is a modifiable independent  risk factor associated with progression of arthritis, activity limitation, disability, reduced quality-of-life, total joint replacement, and poor clinical outcomes after joint replacement.

Arthritis may be caused by the increased mechanical stress caused by extra weight on the joints as well as inflammatory effects of elevated cytokines and adipokines that affect cartilage degradation.

Its a cycle according to the government, because either arthritis or obesity can impair the ability to be physically active, a key self-management and weight loss and maintenance strategy that not only can improve pain and function among adults with arthritis, but also contribute to the energy expenditure needed to lose or maintain weight.

The CDC says even small amounts of weight loss like 10 pounds can have important benefits for persons with arthritis.

According to the CDC other randomized controlled interventions of diet, exercise, and diet plus exercise among overweight and obese adults with osteoarthritis have reduced body weight by approximately 5 percent, improving symptoms and functioning, and preventing short-term disability. Intentional weight loss among obese adults with osteoarthritis might reduce the risk for early mortality by nearly 50 percent.

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