A new study says that obesity and knee osteoarthritis (OA) shorten healthy years of older people's lives.
Obesity and OA are among the most frequent chronic conditions in older people. However, how that translates into years of healthy life lost has not been accurately estimated.
Now, a new research has found that Americans aged 50 years and above collectively lose about 86 million healthy years due to these conditions.
Researchers, led by Elena Losina, at the Brigham and Women's Hospital used a mathematical simulation model to assemble national data on the occurrence of knee OA, obesity and other important conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Their analysis examined the contribution of both obesity and knee OA to losses in quantity and quality of life. It also evaluates how those losses are distributed among racial and ethnic subpopulations in the United States.
"There are 86 million healthy years of life at stake, a disproportionate number of them being lost by Black and Hispanic women," said Jeffrey N. Katz, Director of the Orthopedics and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research at the BWH and a senior author of the study.
"These staggering numbers may help patients and physicians to better grasp the scale of the problem and the potential benefits of behaviour change."
The findings are published in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.