(HealthDay News) — Two telehealth interventions involving education and exercise, with and without dietary intervention, improve pain and function for people with knee osteoarthritis and overweight or obesity, with the diet and exercise program offering additional benefit over exercise, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Kim L. Bennell, Ph.D., from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues assessed two six-month, telehealth-delivered exercise programs: one with and one without dietary intervention in a three-group, parallel randomized trial. All groups received access to online educational material about osteoarthritis (control). A total of 415 persons with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and body mass index between 28 and 40 kg/m2 aged 45 to 80 years were included.
Overall, 379 and 372 participants provided six- and 12-month primary outcomes. The researchers found that both programs were superior to control for pain (between-group mean difference in change on numerical rating scale, −1.5 and −0.8 for diet and exercise and exercise, respectively) and function (between-group mean difference in change on Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, −9.8 and −7, respectively) at six months. The diet and exercise program was superior to exercise for pain and function (−0.6 and −2.8, respectively). Similar findings were seen at 12 months.
“The telehealth programs represent potentially scalable and accessible ways for people with knee osteoarthritis to receive core recommended interventions,” the authors write.