Combination of Obesity/Arthritis Severely Limits Elderly Women

JULY 01, 2006
Susan Farley

Researchers at the National Institute on Aging and the Johns Hopkins Medical Center studied mobility and arthritis in elderly women. They found that women who had osteoarthritis (OA) and were obese were more likely to face debilitating mobility problems and hindered activities of daily living (ADL) than women who were not obese. They compared women aged 70 to 79 years; 199 had lower-extremity OA and no mobility problems at the beginning of the study, and 140 had no OA in the knees or hips. The women were evaluated at 18, 36, and 72 months. The ones with OA were more likely to experience pain, especially when walking and climbing stairs. Of these women, 26% were obese, compared with 11% in the group who did not have OA. The investigators found that the OA group was 2.5 times more likely to have difficulty with ADL and with lower-extremity mobility. The study results were published in the April 2006 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.