Weight loss and exercise helping to manage osteoarthritis
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An Australian first trial exploring whether diet and exercise may help people manage symptoms of osteoarthritis-related knee pain, has found 80% of participants achieved significant improvements in pain.
More than 400 Medibank customers were recruited to participate in the Better Knee, Better Me trial, developed in partnership with the University of Melbourne and Austin Health, with funding from the Medibank Better Health Foundation.
Medibank Head of Member Health Service Design, Catherine Keating said the results from the Better Knee, Better Me treatment group were compared to a control group and an exercise only group.
“We saw some great results with the Better Knee, Better Me treatment group losing on average 10.2kg over a 6-month period,” Dr Keating said.
“4 out of 5 participants achieved clinically significant improvement in pain. Participants also reported better knee function, enhanced quality of life, reduced feelings of depression and lower use of pain medications.”
“It’s very pleasing to see that a majority of participants in the trial were able to maintain their results at the 12-month mark of the program.”
The trial was developed after Medibank identified what it perceived to be gaps in preventative healthcare programs aimed at preventing the need for knee replacement surgery.
Around 2.2 million Australians are currently living with osteoarthritis. The prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to increase by 58% by 2032 due to an ageing population and rising obesity rates.
This peer-reviewed research by University of Melbourne researchers, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, evaluated how Better Knee, Better Me treatment group participants responded to the program by observing pain levels, ability to perform daily tasks and their overall quality of life.
During the trial, participants were provided evidence-based support from physiotherapists and dietitians through video conferencing calls. They also received meal replacements and activity booklets to support them.
Following the completion of the trial, the Better Knee, Better Me program is now being offered more broadly to eligible Medibank customers.
University of Melbourne lead researcher Professor Kim Bennell said 30% of participants in the Better Knee, Better Me trial lived in regional and rural Australia.
“During these times of pandemic-related travel restrictions, it is crucial that Australians are able to access home-based treatments to manage their osteoarthritis symptoms, no matter where they live or what COVID restrictions are in place,” Professor Bennell said.
“We are proud to have developed a program that has a strong regional and rural representation and is based on a trial which made a real difference in the lives of participants.”
To find out more about Better Knee, Better Me and the eligibility criteria visit our website.