Obesity, Arthritis Shorten Quality-Adjusted Life-Years

Reducing obesity to levels of 10 years ago would prevent more than 100,000 knee replacements

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A substantial number of quality-adjusted life-years are lost due to knee osteoarthritis and obesity, with a disproportionate number of black and Hispanic women affected, according to a study published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Elena Losina, Ph.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues estimated the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis in individuals aged 50 to 84 from the U.S. Census and national data sources. Individuals were assigned to one of four categories: nonobese without knee osteoarthritis, nonobese with knee osteoarthritis, obese without knee osteoarthritis, and obese with knee osteoarthritis. A computer simulation model was used to estimate the quality-adjusted life-years lost due to knee osteoarthritis and obesity.

The investigators found that the estimated loss of quality-adjusted life-years per person ranged from 1.857 for nonobese people with knee osteoarthritis to 3.501 for obese individuals with knee osteoarthritis. An estimated total of 86 million quality-adjusted life-years were lost due to obesity, knee osteoarthritis, or both conditions. Disproportionately high losses were seen in Hispanic and black women. Findings from the model suggest that reducing the prevalence of obesity to levels of 10 years ago would prevent 111,206 total knee replacements and would lead to reductions in coronary heart disease and diabetes.

"With 86 million quality-adjusted life-years at stake and the incidence of knee osteoarthritis and obesity increasing, the potential public health effect of successful interventions to prevent these conditions is very substantial and worthy of intensive investigation," the authors write.

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