News Release

Preterm, low birth-weight babies may need new hips in adulthood

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Researchers from Australia report that low birth weight and preterm birth are linked to increased risk for osteoarthritis (OA)-related hip replacements in adulthood. Findings published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) journal, Arthritis Care & Research, indicate that low birth weight and pre-term babies were not at greater risk of knee arthroplasty due to OA as adults.

According to the ACR, 27 million Americans over the age of 25 are diagnosed with clinical OA. Symptoms of OA range from mild to severe and include pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints. In fact, OA is the most common cause of disability, with medical evidence reporting OA of the knees and hips totaling 71 million years lived with disability (2010)—a worldwide increase of 64% since 1990.

Lead investigator, Professor Flavia Cicuttini with the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University and Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia says, "Currently there are no disease-modifying medications available to treat OA, which makes understanding the risk factors associated with OA so important for improving prevention of this disabling disease."

Previous research found that low birth weight and preterm birth have been linked to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and reduced bone mass in adulthood. With understanding of these adverse outcomes, the research team set out to investigate if low birth weight and preterm birth also played a role in increased risk of joint replacement surgery as adults.

The present study used data from 3,604 participants of the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study who were 40 years of age or older at the time data of joint replacement surgeries were collected. Participants provided information about their weight at birth and if they were prematurely delivered. The participants' records were then linked to knee and hip replacements due to OA data (2002-2011) from the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry.

Of the participants, 116 had knee replacement surgery and 75 underwent hip arthroplasty for OA. Low birth weight and preterm birth were linked to increase incidence of hip arthroplasty independent of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), education level, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and physical activity. Researchers found no significant association between low birth weight or preterm birth and knee replacement surgery.

"Our findings suggest that individuals born prematurely or with low birth weight are more likely to need hip replacement surgery for OA in adulthood," concludes Professor Flavia Cicuttini. "While further investigation is needed to confirm these findings, indentifying those at greatest risk for hip OA and providing early interventions may help reduce the incidence of this debilitating disease."


This study is published in Arthritis Care & Research. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

Full citation: "Association of Low Birth Weight and Preterm Birth with the Incidence Of Knee and Hip Arthroplasty for Osteoarthritis." Sultana Monira Hussain, Yuanyuan Wang, Anita E. Wluka, Jonathan E. Shaw, Dianna J. Magliano, Stephen Graves and Flavia M. Cicuttini Arthritis Care and Research; Published Online: November 3, 2014 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.22475).

URL Upon Publication:

Author Contact: To arrange an interview with Dr. Cicuttini, please contact Rachael Fergusson with Monash University at +61 9903 4841 or +61 439 013 951 or by email at

Media Advisory

2014 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting Press Registration Now Open.

What: Registration is now open to journalists planning to attend the 2014 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Boston.

Thousands of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals are expected to attend this year's meeting, which will highlight the latest advances in rheumatology research.

Where: Boston Convention Center; Boston, Mass.

When: November 15-19, 2014

Online Registration: To register for a press badge click here

Policies: Please make sure to review our press guidelines as they may impact your ability to receive press credentials

Dates for this year's annual meeting:

  • Press registration closes: Monday, November 3
  • Press conference schedule announced: Early-October
  • On-site Newsroom opens: Saturday, November 15; 7:30 AM ET
  • Opening Lecture/Embargo lifts: Saturday, November 15; 4:30 PM ET or contact Bonny Senkbeil at (404) 633-3777 or via e-mail at, 404-633-3777

About the Journal

Arthritis Care & Research is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College. Arthritis Care & Research is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes both original research and review articles that promote excellence in the clinical practice of rheumatology. Relevant to the care of individuals with arthritis and related disorders, major topics are evidence-based practice studies, clinical problems, practice guidelines, health care economics, health care policy, educational, social, and public health issues, and future trends in rheumatology practice. The journal is published by Wiley on behalf of the ACR. For more information, please visit the journal home page at

About Wiley

Wiley is a global provider of content-enabled solutions that improve outcomes in research, education, and professional practice. Our core businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising; professional books, subscription products, certification and training services and online applications; and education content and services including integrated online teaching and learning resources for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners.

Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JWa, JWb), has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 450 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace. Wiley's global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company's website can be accessed at

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.