Losing weight could help protect your knees from arthritis

Weight loss can help prevent the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis by up to 22%, according to a study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

This is the benefit found in study participants who lost enough weight to move from one body mass index (BMI) category to another – from “overweight” to “healthy weight”, for example. example. The study included 9,762 participants whose knees were x-rayed and followed for four to five years.

Osteoarthritis, which affects the joints and is considered the most common type of arthritis, is often considered a wear and tear disease. It develops when the cartilage that acts as a cushion between the bones of a joint breaks down or wears away, leaving the bones to rub against each other and cause pain, stiffness and movement problems.

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The researchers noted that even study participants who lost less weight still achieved “protection against structural knee degeneration.”

The weight loss benefit was found to apply not only to overweight or obese people “but also to people with a BMI in the normal range,” they wrote. For example, those whose BMI only dropped by one unit, to a lower number on the BMI chart (from a BMI of 19 to 18, for example) were still about 5% less likely to develop osteoarthritis or see existing osteoarthritis worsen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 32 million American adults have some type of osteoarthritis. Although the knees are the most commonly affected joints, osteoarthritis can also develop in joints in other parts of the body, such as the hands, hips, neck, and lower back.

This article is part of the Post’s “Big Number” series, which briefly examines the statistical side of health problems. Additional information and relevant research is available via the hyperlinks.

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