Diet and exercise program to treat osteoarthritis set to reduce healthcare costs

A research team from the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine has developed a telehealth diet and exercise intervention for those living with knee osteoarthritis.

Knees are one of the most commonly affected joints among the more than two million osteoarthritis patients in Australia. Joint replacement surgery, which is often required to reduce pain, costs the healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

A clinical trial coordinated by Dr Belinda Lawford found that the team’s telehealth diet and exercise program improved knee pain, physical function and quality of life among participants, reducing their willingness to undergo surgery by between 55-70%.

The program, which was trialled in partnership with Medibank, Austin Health and Monash University, was rolled out to Medibank customers in April last year.

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