This week, I’m going to provide more evidence (I say “more” because I’ve already visited this topic, here and here, bearing lots of evidence.) But the “lose weight” message is important enough to merit periodic revisits.
So here you have yet more proof, in round-up fashion:
* A report published in the August 2009 issue of the periodical Radiology linked obesity with the rapid progression of knee osteoarthritis and cartilage loss.
All 336 subjects, though overweight, started out with minimal or no loss of knee cartilage. During the 30 months they were monitored, one-fifth of the patients lost cartilage slowly and 5.8 percent lost it rapidly. For every 1 point increase in body mass index, the risk of rapid cartilage loss jumped by 11 percent.
* A 16-week diet that included protein shakes and soups helped people lose weight, lessening joint pain, according to findings published in the
December 21, 2011,
issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The 175 obese people in the study lost an average of 26 lbs. in the first eight weeks. Dropping all that weight had a significant impact; it “helped more than 60 percent of the participants reduce their knee pain and improved their ability to walk.”
* Another study looked at morbidly obese patients who underwent surgery (such as bariatric) to spur weight loss. A year later, they had lost almost 51 lbs. on average and reported significant improvement in knee function and less pain.
* A higher BMI means more knee pain among women -- whether or not they have osteoarthritis -- according to a study published
July 7, 2011, in Arthritis Care & Research.
The 594 women who took part were examined over 14 years. “Significant predictors” of pain were found to be greater initial weight and weight gain. (Curiously, the relationship applied only to patients with pain in both knees, not just one.)
* A study of 20 morbidly obese youngsters, average age 14.2 years old, showed that each had a cartilage lesion in at least one knee region, as indicated by MRI.
The defects (surprising in adolescent children) were similar to those found in victims of “various accidents” or in older people.
It was unclear, at least at the time of this 2005 report, whether the cartilage damage was due simply to mechanical overload or whether metabolic factors might also be to blame.
* And, just in, published December 27 in Arthritis Care & Research:
196 subjects (from 25 to 60 years old) were split into three groups: those who lost 5 percent or more weight during two years, those who gained 5 percent or more and those whose weight remained stable (everyone in between).
Those who put on extra pounds reported stiffer, more painful, worse-functioning knees, whereas those shed weight boasted of the opposite.
So there you have it.
Evidence -- pretty much overwhelming at that -- that losing weight is one of the smartest things you can do to beat knee pain.