Background Physical activity (PA) for persons with lower limb osteoarthritis (OA) may result in reduced pain, increased function and overall health benefits. Despite this, recent research from US has revealed that persons with OA remain particularly inactive and are at risk for poor health outcomes1. Little is known about the PA level among persons with lower limb OA in Europe.
Objectives To investigate self-reported frequency, intensity and duration of PA among persons with lower limb OA as compared to the adult population in a Norwegian municipality.
Methods Data from a postal survey among inhabitants aged between 40 and 79 years old in Ullensaker Municipality, the “Musculoskeletal pain in Ullensaker STudy” (MUST), were analysed. Self-reported OA was registered with the item: ‘Have you ever been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in hip/knee/hand by a medical doctor and/or x-ray?’ Self-reported weekly frequency, intensity and duration of PA were obtained using three questions from the HUNT study2 with five, three and four categorical response alternatives, respectively. Pain level past seven days was measured using an 11-point numeric scale. Body weight and height were self-reported. Differences in proportions were tested using Chi square analyses. Logistic regression was used to explore odds ratios for different covariates on intensity of PA.
Results In total 41% (n=4969) returned the postal questionnaire. The study sample consisted of 55% females with mean age (sd) 57 (11) years and mean BMI (sd) 26 (6). In total 16% (n=802) self-reported OA in their lower limb (hip and/or knee joint). The reported frequency of PA was similar (62%: 2-3 times a week or more) for persons with and without lower limb OA. However, persons with lower limb OA reported significantly less intensity (X=73.3, p<0.001) (Figure 1) and shorter duration of PA (X=14.3, p<0.01) compared to those without lower limb OA. Significantly lower OR for reporting moderate/high PA intensity was found among persons with higher pain levels (B=0.877; p<0.001; 95% CI 0.850, 0.905) and higher age (B=0.943; p<0.001; 95% CI 0.935, 0.950), whereas body mass index was not significantly associated with PA intensity.
Conclusions In this study, persons with lower limb OA report similar frequency, but significantly lower intensity and duration of PA compared to persons without lower limb OA. This could partly be explained by older age and higher pain levels among those with lower limb OA. It could be questioned whether the intensity of PA among persons with lower limb OA is too low in order to increase the physical fitness level and achieve important health benefits, as only about 50% of those with lower limb OA met the intensity levels in the recommendations for PA from the American College of Sports Medicine.
Dunlop et al, 2011
Kurtze et al, 2008
Disclosure of Interest None Declared