A new study published in the July 2015 issue of Arthritis Care and Research suggests that an intensive regimen of a healthy diet and exercise may help reduce the short-term onset of knee pain in overweight adults with Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Lead author Daniel White, assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of Delaware, and others conducted the study to inquire whether an intensive program of weight loss and exercise could prevent the onset of knee pain among older people who are obese, per a release from the University of Delaware.

Old age and obesity are major risk factors for knee osteoarthritis, the release notes.

In their study, the release explains, the research team compared subjects receiving intensive lifestyle intervention to a comparison group receiving standard diabetes mellitus support and education, measuring knee pain at the end of 1 year and 4 years.

They then conducted a secondary analysis of the Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study, a randomized intervention of trial adults ages 45 to 76 years who were obese and had Type 2 diabetes mellitus that started in 2001, the release continues.

“The analysis involved a subcohort of 2,889 subjects who reported no knee pain at baseline, but were at high risk due to obesity,” White says in the release.

The primary method of achieving weight loss was caloric intake restrictions, based on guidelines from the American Diabetes Association. The diet limits total calories from fat to 30% while mandating that at least 10% of calories be obtained from protein.

The exercise routine relied heavily on unsupervised exercise at home, with a gradual progression to 175 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

For most participants, the study notes, per the release, this activity consisted of brisk walking, with moderate-intensity walking encouraged as a primary type of physical activity.

“We did not study people in the general population, but only adults who were diabetic and overweight,” White says in the release.

“Among those we studied who were randomized to the diet and exercise intervention, it was found that they were 15% less likely to develop knee pain compared with their counterparts randomized to the control condition,” he continues.

The study found that an intensive program of diet and exercise had a small but statistically significant protective effect against the development of knee pain in the short term among overweight adults with diabetes, White states in the release.

At the 4-year mark, this difference decreased to 5% and was no longer statistically significant. The study notes that this decrease might be a consequence of participants not being able to stay with the prescribed diet and exercise regimen over the 4-year period, per the release.

“These findings are very important,” White says in the release.

“They demonstrate that the recommendations to exercise and diet do make a difference for preventing the development of knee pain among those who are at high risk,” he continues.

[Source(s): University of Delaware, Science Daily]