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February 2024
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Tips on Arthritis and Obesity Prevention

A study showed that obesity can increase the risk of developing arthritis.

Obesity is a global problem and is thought to be second to smoking as one of the contributory cause of cancer. It is a medical condition associated with the excessive storage of body fat which can lead to serious health conditions and reduced life expectancy. A body mass index above 30 kilograms per square meter is considered obese. The list of common health conditions that are induced and intensified by obesity include some types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

There are several factors that cause obesity. In a nutshell, the consumption of a greater number of calories than what the body burns results to the disproportionate storage of fat. An unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle are two of the primary causes of obesity and obviously, the best recommended cure is the modification of one’s diet and increased physical activity. Among the chronic conditions caused by obesity is arthritis.

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published on October 8 stated that arthritis limits the physical activity of over 21 million people. Obesity is now being linked to arthritis and the study showed that an excess in weight serves as a hindrance to having healthy joints basically because it affects joint movement. And according to the report, unless Americans learn to control their weight, the prevalence of arthritis will remain on the rise. Just like obesity, arthritis is a major public health problem that can be effectively prevented through weight management which includes increased physical activities, diet modification, and proper education.

The Link between Obesity and Arthritis

The National Health Interview Survey for the year 2007 to 2009 indicated that more than 22 percent of adults aged 18 and above are diagnosed with arthritis. This is an equivalent of almost 50 million people. More than 21 million people in this group had reported limited body movements and decreased physical activities. In the population suffering from obesity, on the other hand, more than 33 percent of women and over 25 percent of men have arthritis. This is more than twice of the arthritis prevalence in people with normal or below normal weight, with almost 14 percent in men and about 19 percent in women.

Though the prevalence of arthritis is commonly linked to a person’s age, issues such as lifestyle, physical activity, weight, and even educational attainment are also some of the factors that can increase the risk. The report also showed that the limitations in physical activities that cause arthritis are caused by the ageing population and rising rates of obesity.

The ageing population and increasing prevalence of obesity are expected to increase the rates of developing arthritis in the next 20 years according to the report. The expected number of adults with arthritis can go up as much as 67 million by 2010. The other findings of the study showed that more than 24 percent of women and 18 percent of men were surveyed with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Almost 22 percent of the survey participants whose educational attainment was less than a high school diploma had arthritis, comparatively higher than the 20 percent of people who spent a few years in college. In addition to this, almost 24 percent of people with sedentary lifestyle have arthritis, a lot lesser than the 19 percent who engaged in increased physical activities.

The survey participants were asked if they were diagnosed with any form of arthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, gout or fibromyalgia by a medical expert. According to the report, arthritis results to an annual cost of $128 billion on a national scale and the condition is one of the common causes of disability. The risk of getting knee osteoarthritis is more than 60 percent in obese individuals. The report also suggested that even an 11-pound reduction in weight can reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis by 50 percent and mortality rate also by half.

Tips to Prevent Obesity

Obesity and arthritis can come hand in hand. This suggests that one of the best ways to prevent the development of obesity is by properly managing weight. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone: you are avoiding obesity and at the same time reducing the risk of developing arthritis.

It needs to be understood that obesity is caused by the over-consumption of calories while getting less than recommended physical activities. The best approach is by being aware of your calorie intake while increasing physical activity at the same time in order to burn any stored fat. Identifying any early indications of obesity is also key to preventing the condition from becoming a serious problem.

Remember to:

  • Maintain an active lifestyle. Though going to the gym or jogging around the park may be more recommendable, having an active lifestyle can be achieved in the comforts of your own home like doing open backyard activities.
  • Monitor weight regularly. It’s difficult to always count the calories. Though you may always need to think about the food you eat, counting calories down to the last piece of candy may become too obsessive and stressful. The better way of doing it is by monitoring your weight on a regular basis. This will tell you if you have been eating well and if you are getting enough physical activities to burn the extra pounds.
  • Eat right. There’s no better way of managing your weight but by eating the right kind of foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables and foods rich in fiber, like whole grains, are best in flushing out saturated fats from the other foods you eat. Eating regularly and slowly will also help in the better digestion of food.

Tips to Prevent Arthritis

Food rich in bad cholesterol, saturated fats, sodium, and uric acid leads and worsens arthritis. The recommended diet to prevent and alleviate arthritic conditions consists of consuming healthy foods such as:

  • Parsley
  • Watercress
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • wheat grass products
  • barley
  • pecans
  • avocados
  • soy products
  • whole grain products like oats, millet, barley, wheat
  • cold water fishes like sardines, salmon and herring.

Foods rich in antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, bioflavonoids, carotenes and vitamin C has also been found to reduce the inflammation of the joints caused by free radicals.

Meanwhile, foods containing high amounts of calcium inhibitors have been found to increase the risk of arthritis. So try to avoid the following:

  • red meat
  • chicken
  • eggs
  • dairy products
  • coffee
  • alcohol

Foods with high contents of oxalic acid like plums, cranberries, rhubarb, spinach and chard can also cause and worsen arthritis.


Related Posts

  1. Obesity Raises Diabetes Risk More Than Inactivity, Study Finds
  2. FDA Testing on Arthritis Drugs
  3. Can Red Wine Control Obesity?
  4. Another Reason to Lose and Maintain Weight: Survey Shows Strong Links between Depression and Obesity
  5. Diet and Exercise Can Override the Genetic Disposition towards Obesity

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