From the Wires
Health Care Service Corporation And Northwestern University Announce Collaboration To Combat Osteoarthritis
Innovative Pilot Program Addresses the Link Between Obesity and the Growing Number of Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis
By: PR Newswire
Nov. 20, 2012 06:00 AM
CHICAGO, Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the nation's largest customer-owned health insurer, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine announce a collaborative research initiative called Joint ADventure, focused on improving symptoms and quality of life for those with signs of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Joint ADventure aims to prevent work absenteeism, work disability and increased healthcare costs associated with knee OA through a workplace intervention pilot program with HCSC employees.
The obesity epidemic in this country has led to growing numbers of adults with knee osteoarthritis. Nearly 50 percent of all adults and two-thirds of obese adults are expected to develop symptomatic knee OA at some point in their lives. Knee OA is already a major cause of arthritis-related disability, resulting from difficulty doing major activities such as walking, climbing stairs, kneeling or stooping. Because obesity and knee injury (both risk factors for the development of knee OA) are increasing in the US, the lifetime risks and the absolute number of persons with knee OA and consequent disability are projected to rise dramatically.
Joint ADventure, a two-year research initiative designed specifically for adults with chronic knee symptoms, will develop, implement and test a program to address knee symptoms and improve the quality of life for participants with or at risk for developing OA. Approximately 90 HCSC employees will voluntarily participate in a twelve-month intensive physical activity and nutrition intervention which includes weight loss goals, fostered by better nutrition and physical activity benchmarks. The program also includes a lifestyle intervention led by a nurse clinical specialist, fitness expert, dietitian, and an occupational therapist from Northwestern University, which will provide motivational coaching and cohort sessions focused on adopting healthy eating and exercise routines. The participant selection process for the program is currently underway. The intention is to replicate the program's successes with HCSC members and employer groups.
"Our partnership with HCSC is a great example of how the public and private sector can join to work together to find an effective, replicable and sustainable intervention strategy for those with - or at risk for - knee OA to attain and maintain healthy behaviors," said chief investigator Dr. Rowland Chang, M.D., professor of preventive medicine and director of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School. "Knee OA is a major cause of work disability and absenteeism. Our hope is that the results of this study will provide a blueprint that will lead to fundamental changes in the way lifestyle interventions are delivered to large employed populations."
Results will be measured based on the evaluation of participant positive lifestyle behavior modifications including physical activity, dietary behavior measures and the assessment of OA pain and self-reported health related quality of life improvements.
"HCSC is committed to working with organizations that will help us to identify solutions for major health issues that afflict our members," said Dr. Paul Handel, chief medical officer, HCSC. "Our partnership with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine will provide invaluable insight and, eventually, new ways for our members to manage their health who are at risk of developing OA."
This research initiative is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, grant number R21 AR062317.
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