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Reporters invited to weight loss and knee osteoarthritis study simulation

July 19, 2007

Members of the media are invited to experience firsthand the challenges faced by participants in a weight loss and exercise study for the elderly suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Reporters can go through some of the same testing and even try the exercises wearing a weighted vest to simulate what the participants experience.

Stephen Messier, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University, is conducting a long-term study on the benefits of weight loss and exercise for osteoarthritis sufferers. Ten sets of participants commit to the study for 18 months. Each set includes up to 45 participants, who are divided into three groups: those receiving only weight-loss assistance, those undergoing a specific exercise regimen, and a third group going through both. The study began in January with the first set of 45 participants. The third set of participants joined the study July 9.

Frank and Henrietta Collins, both in their early 70s, started the study in February.  They have each lost 20-30 pounds already.  She is participating in the diet and exercise group, while he is in the diet intervention group.  They say their support for each other keeps them both motivated to stay with the study.

Messier says the goal of the Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis (IDEA) Study "is to maintain quality of life and independence for those suffering from osteoarthritis.” Participants will be available for interviews, and there are many visual opportunities for photos and b-roll.

Wednesday afternoons between noon and 2:30 pm are best for media visits due to the number of participants available, but other times can be arranged.

Press Contacts:

Audrey Fannin
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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