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Knee OA Risk Unaffected By Moderate Physical Activity In Over-45s

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People aged 45 or over are at no greater risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) if they undertake moderate physical activity for up to 150 minutes a week. The risk is slightly elevated for those that spend up to twice that amount of time on such activity but the difference is not statistically significant.

These are the findings of a study conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC), working with colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study report has been published in the Arthritis Care & Research journal.

Moderate physical activities are defined as those resulting in some increase in heart rate or breathing. Examples include brisk walking, conditioning exercises and household activities like gardening. According to guidelines provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the recommended weekly amount of time for such activities is 150 minutes for people aged 45 or above.

The research team used data collected between 1999 and 2010 for the long-running Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. It was launched by UNC for the study of knee, hip, hand and spine OA and disability in over-45s. The new investigation involved the analysis of data on 1,522 participants, the aim being to establish whether a link existed between following physical activity guidelines and developing knee OA.

Senior study author Joanne Jordan summarised the findings by saying that the results showed no such association. Moreover, the researchers found absolutely no indication that race, sex or weight had any part to play in determining the risk of knee OA at these activity levels, Jordan added.