Rising Obesity Rates Driving Surge in U.S. TKR

The rise in obesity rates in people under age 65 appears to be having a dramatic influence on the number of total joint replacement surgeries in the U.S., contrary to the belief that Baby Boomers and weekend warriors are spurring the rise in the procedures.

Studies investigated 9,000 knee replacement patients in 22 states. Preliminary analysis revealed that 55 percent of patients younger than 65 were obese, vs. 43 percent of those who were aged 65 and older.

Compared with those 65 and older, twice as many of the patients younger than 65 were severely obese (5 percent vs. 11 percent, respectively). The younger group of patients also had higher rates of smoking and lower mental health scores, the investigators found.

REFERENCES

Obesity Is Driving Surge in Knee Replacements, Study Finds, November 12, 2013.

Increasing rate of knee replacements linked to obesity among young, University of Massachusetts Medical School, October 20, 2013.