In a new study from the University of Melbourne, researchers found a telehealth-delivered exercise and diet programs could help participants reduce knee pain and lose 10% of body weight.
More than 400 individuals with knee osteoarthritis participated in the Better Knee, Better Me trial.
The researchers evaluated two six-month telehealth-delivered exercise programs, one with and one without a weight-loss dietary program, compared with an information-only control group.
During the trial, participants in the intervention groups were provided support from physiotherapists and dietitians via Zoom and a suite of resources.
Those in the exercise plus diet group also received meal replacements so they could undertake a ketogenic low energy diet.
The team found compared to the group that only received information, both intervention programs resulted in benefits for pain, function and quality of life.
Compared to the exercise-only program, the combined exercise and diet program led to additional benefits—including a greater reduction in pain, greater improvements in physical function, lower use of pain medications, and significant weight loss.
After both programs, participants were also less willing to undergo knee joint replacement surgery.
The participants lost on average 10.2 kilograms over a six-month period with four out of five participants achieving big improvement in pain.
Around 2.1 million Australians are currently living with osteoarthritis. The prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to increase by 58 percent by 2032 due to an ageing population and rising obesity rates.
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The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. One author of the study is Professor Kim Bennell.
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