LACK of exercise and obesity is being blamed for hundreds of Scots requiring new hips and knees in their 50s and younger.

Figures show more than 1000 people under the age of 60 have required joint replacement surgery at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank over the past three years, a procedure that is more commonly associated with the elderly.

The highest number of men requiring new hips and knees were in Lanarkshire (112) followed by the Lothians (111) Forth Valley, 65 and then Greater Glasgow and Clyde at 55.

However, women were more likely to require orthopaedic surgery with 562 operations performed over the past three years, compared to 460 men.

Lanarkshire had the second highest numbers of women requiring hip and knee replacements (114) behind the Lothians at 139 and 66 in Greater Glasgow.

Figures show that 1022 procedures were performed in patients in the 40s and 50s from October 2014 to September 2017.

The most common reason for requiring hip and knee replacement surgery is osteoarthritis, a denegerative joint process that most commonly strikes the hips, knees and spine and is linked to obesity.

Movement and activity circulate joint fluid and promote cartilage health and bone strength while extra weight puts pressure on the joints.

In 2016, 65 per cent of Scots aged 16 and over were overweight, including 29 per cent who were categorised as obese.

Sixty four percent of adults aged 16 and over met the current exercise guideline that adults should be physically active for a minimum of 150 minutes per week (at a moderate level) or 75 minutes (vigorous level).

Experts say it’s about building in as much “spontaneous” exercise into the day as possible, such as walking to work or taking the stairs.

Douglas Lauchlan, a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “Yes, it’s about obesity, but it’s also about levels of physical activity and people living sedentary lives.

“The joint requires mobilisation for good nutrition.

“If you sit for long periods you are reducing the range of motion that the hip and knee has to do.

“When they don’t get full range of motion, it can expediate that breakdown.

“The old adage if you don’t use it you lose it, is true.

“People think it’s all professional footballers and athletes who get osteoarthritis and of course there is that. If we take the knee or hip to extreme levels.

“What we know is that people who remain active into the later decades who do well.

“I was marshalling at the Cross Country Championships recently and there was a runner there at 81 running a 5k route in terrible terrain but he was doing it.

“The modern day life requires you to schedule exercise but we should be trying to incorporate spontaneous exercise into our day such as walking or cycling to work.”

A Scottish Government consultation on tackling obesity has proposed interventions such as outlawing multibuy deals on junk food, confectionary and high-calorie soft drinks.