High Levels of Obesity and Arthritis in Women Lead to Disability

August 13, 2010

A new study highlighted by an article in the Arthritis Today claims that "Higher rates of arthritis and obesity help to explain why women are more likely than men to become disabled as they age."

If you’re a woman and want to avoid disability in old age, it’s time to get to work on building strength in your joints and staying physically active.

A new study highlighted by an article in the Arthritis Today claims that “Higher rates of arthritis and obesity help to explain why women are more likely than men to become disabled as they age.”

Lead study author Heather E. Whitsin, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics, Duke Univeristy Medical Center in Furham, NC is quoted in the article as saying:

“It's an important message for younger and middle-aged women: Extra pounds that accrue during child-bearing and perimenopause are associated with higher rates of disability in old age.”

The study, published in Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, “analyzed rates of disability in 5,888 men and women” age 65 and up. The subjects lived in California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Maryland.

Among the chief findings were that “women had an 83 percent greater risk of becoming disabled than men.” That increased risk was in part due to “higher rates of arthritis in women.

In the article, Whitson recommended “when it comes to your joints, it’s not endurance that you need to focus on, but building strength, flexibility and balance” to help “delay the onset of osteoarthritis of the knees and hips.”

Taking up regular exercise activities can help too.