Study Explores Effects of Exercise, Diet on Arthritis

A Wake Forest University study is finding that exercise and diet may improve physical function and the quality of life for overweight senior citizens afflicted with osteoarthritis of the knee.

The study, Arthritis Diet and Activity Promotion Trial (ADAPT), is a joint effort between the university’s health and exercise science department and the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

As part of the study, overweight senior citizens with knee osteoarthritis are walking, lifting weights, modifying their diets and receiving nutrition counseling over a two-year period.

Head researcher Stephen Messier hopes to determine if a reduction of weight from diet and/or exercise can improve the participants’ quality of life, reduce pain associated with knee osteoarthritis and increase physical function.

“Osteoarthritis of the knee is a common condition in older, overweight adults that causes pain and may limit activity,” said Messier, professor of health and exercise science. “We hope to determine from the ADAPT study if losing weight either with exercise or without over an extended period of time will improve function, reduce pain and prevent the decline into disability.”

Funded by a grant from the National Institute of Aging, the Wake Forest study targets overweight men and women ages 60 and older who have mild to moderate evidence of knee osteoarthritis. Approximately 250 participants have already enrolled in ADAPT since it began in September 1998.

“Over a short period of time, we have already seen some of the study’s population lose weight and improve physical function,” added Messier.

Anyone interested in participating in the study should call the ADAPT recruitment center at 336-777-3258. There is no charge to participate and transportation is available.

Categories: Research, School of Medicine