(HealthDay News) – In persons with or at risk for radiographic knee osteoarthritis (RKOA), African-Americans are 72–76% less likely than whites to meet the 2008 United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Physical Activity Guidelines aerobic component, according to a study published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

In an effort to evaluate racial differences in achieving the physical activity guideline recommendations, Jing Song, of Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 1,142 African-American and white patients with RKOA and 747 at risk of RKOA.

The researchers found that, overall, 2% of African-Americans and 13% of whites met the guidelines. Compared with white patients with or at risk for RKOA, African-Americans were significantly less likely to meet the physical activity stipulated by the guidelines (76% less likely for patients with RKOA and 72% less likely for those at risk of RKOA). These differences were affected by a higher rate of overweight/obesity and knee pain in African-American patients than in white patients.

“Despite benefits from physical activity, attainment of the 2008 DHHS Physical Activity Guidelines was low for all groups. African-Americans were even less likely than whites to meet the guidelines; this relationship held among persons with or at risk of RKOA,” the authors write. “After controlling for differences in sociodemographics and health factors, substantial racial/ethnic differences remained. These disparities were partially mediated by differences in knee pain severity and obesity status.”

The study was funded in part by Merck, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer.

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