Even Modest Weight Loss Helps Knee Pain

by Joy Keller on Mar 01, 2007

Do you have an overweight client who also has knee osteoarthritis? Here’s a bit of encouraging news that might bolster your efforts to help him lose weight and keep it off. According to research presented in November at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC, “very attainable” weight loss goals are enough to reduce pain.

Weight gain increases pounds of pressure and loading forces on the knee structure. Since extra pressure leads to more wear and tear over time, body weight is considered a significant contributor to the onset and progression of knee arthritis. While weight loss can help relieve the pain, clients may consider the effort as overwhelming as the disease itself.

Now, a long-term weight loss study has demonstrated that even modest reductions in weight contribute to improved quality of life. The participants, who were all mildly obese, were generally in their late 50s or early 60s, female and white. The improvements they made were consistent. On average, the group lost 15 pounds over 4 months of weekly meetings focused on diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. The women regained an average of 5.5 pounds the following year. Participants’ initial weight loss was associated with reduced pain levels and a quality of life comparable to that of healthy adults in the same age bracket. The decrease in pain motivated participants to maintain their weight loss.

“For someone who is very overweight, as little as a 15-pound weight loss over 16 weeks can result in decreased discomfort, increased quality of life, and motivation for staying active and healthy,” said Steffany Haaz, project director at the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center in Baltimore, in a press release. “That means just 1 pound a week translates into significant improvements in comfort and movement.”

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About the Author

Joy Keller

Joy Keller IDEA Author/Presenter

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master. Joy joined IDEA Health & Fitness Association in 2002, and brought with her a wealth of information about how to fine-tune communication channels, after having spent her formative career years specializing in business-to-business journalism. Before she even graduated with honors from the respected University of Georgia journalism school, Joy was offered a job at one of the most successful trade publishing companies in the southeast, Shore Varrone, Inc. She made her mark in the automotive aftermarket industry as a creative thinker and journalist with an intuitive knack for researching and understanding niche audiences. Joy has worked on several titles, including Auto Trim & Restyling News, Truck Accessory News, Digital Output Magazine, Retail & Construction News, Miata magazine, Ford Racing, and many more. Her passion, however, lies with health and fitness. She was the associate editor of ACE Certified News while working at the American Council on Exercise, and transitioned that publication from a newsletter to a magazine. She has enjoyed 17 years at IDEA, where she has launched several publications, including the award-winning Inner IDEA Body-Mind Spirit Review, IDEA Pilates Today and IDEA Fit Business Success. Joy is a content creator and media 2.0 advocate who takes pride in discovering the unique information needs of qualified audiences, and she is dedicated to serving those needs while following the highest available standards.